Beaubien Street, Detroit, Michigan, 48202, United States
The site was located on the corner of Beaubien and Horton Streets north of East Grand Avenue, Detroit, MI
About the Artist/Site
Rosetta Archie lived in her three-story Detroit home for almost fifty years, in those early days along with her husband and son. But in the early 1970s, by then living alone, she began piling discarded objects of all kinds – old tires, barrels, plastic toys, tomato crates, bleach bottles, wood, paint cans, rocks, old pieces of carpet, hubcaps, lamps, mattresses, fishing nets, ladders, etc., etc., – lining them up not only in front of her home’s façade but down Beaubien street. These piles reached 7 – 8 feet in height, and she called it a religious shrine. She identified herself as a messenger from God – “I do what I’m told,” she commented to a reporter in 1985 – and she believed that her shrine would help save humankind from ultimate destruction. She said that she had received this revelation on November 1, 1972, and that it had been accompanied by a celestial concert that took place right on her corner, with God and the Holy Ghosts providing the music.
Her neighbors were furious, yet Archie’s constructions continued to grow over a fifteen-year period. She refined her assemblage, changing the location of existing components as new ones were brought in; some she painted. She was ticketed numerous times for littering, fines were levied against her, she was once involuntarily detained in a psychiatric hospital, and she spent one night in jail. Yet although trials were scheduled and dismissed, there seemed to be little appetite among the municipal authorities to follow through on their threats until March of 1986. By that time, Archie had been removed to a foster home, where she spent her days preaching to her fellow patients; when asked, she gave permission for the municipal authorities to haul all of her collections away. The site is no longer extant.
~Jo Farb Hernández
Map & Site Information
Detroit, Michigan, 48202 us
Latitude/Longitude: 42.3705786 / -83.0662273