Detroit's corrupt former administrations (namely Coleman Young and Kwame Kilpatrick) allowed this to happen as they padded their pockets, paying no attention to the needs of the city. We have heard so many stories of people wanting to buy and restore homes while still salvageable, but the city prevented them from purchase. Instead, they allowed this sickening disgrace to happen across the city. The current mayor, Mayor Duggan is doing a remarkable job but sadly homes like these are lost forever.
Fort Street West (possibly at Swain Street), constructed 1861-3. I believe this might have been the house of Isaac N. Swain (1807-1880), who made his money in lumber in Watervliet, and in flour. He was the president of Woodmere cemetry and is buried in Lot 1184. The "American Biographical History of Eminent and Self-made Men" p. 136 notes that Swain bought 12 acres of land on the Detroit River after his wife's death in 1858 (and his subsequent remarriage in 1859), and "...