WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.

Ralph Lee's glory was this mammoth hotel, which began to see the light in 1927. He was impressed with the hotels and apartment buildings that were prominent in New York City and hoped to bring that type of classy place to Detroit.

On May 1, 1927, ground was broken at the corner of W. Grand Blvd. and Lawton Avenue. Seven months to the day later, the Lee Plaza Hotel opened for business: December 1, 1927. It was an Art Deco dazzler: 17 stories high with 220 luxury apartments at a cost of 2 ½ million bucks ($31 million by today's standards).

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Bedecking the hotel were stone walls, orange-glazed brick, ornamental lighting, carved lion heads, and large urns. Throughout the plaza customers and residents could enjoy a game room, golf range, pool, beauty parlor, kids' playroom, grocery & meat market, library, flower shop, cigar stand, and valet service.

But only eight years later – 1935 - the hotel was bankrupt. Ralph Lee filed bankruptcy for himself as well and had no explanations about his transactions that forced the bankruptcy. On March 28, 1940, Lee passed away at the young age of 49.

In 1943 the hotel was sold to the newly-formed Lee Plaza Company. It struggle along through the 1960s until it was sold again in 1969. It was briefly used as a housing unit for low-income senior citizens. Now it stand empty, rotting, deteriorating...the city still has hopes to regain the hotel's glory.

Now take a look inside this once-dazzling hotel...

Abandoned Lee Plaza Hotel, Detroit


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