This story originally appeared in Model D.
On March 16, we accompanied Shaun Nethercott, founder and executive director of the Matrix Theatre Company, and some faculty members of the Detroit Waldorf School on a trip around Detroit in search of Detroit's ghost waters.
Administrators at the Waldorf School set up this event to help faculty incorporate knowledge of Detroit's ecology into their new science curriculum and were kind enough to let us tag along.
Ghost water is a term coined by Nethercott for a historic waterway that has been covered over but continues to flow beneath the ground. Detroit abounds with examples. There's Baby Creek down in Delray, May Creek that runs parallel to the train tracks that connect Detroit and Windsor, Savoyard Creek that snakes beneath Cobo Hall and downtown's skyscrapers, and Bloody Run Creek, which runs from Hamtramck to the Detroit River through Detroit's near East Side--and there are more.
These ghost waters have been covered for various reasons. Some posed public health risks in the mid-1800s when they were used as open sewers. Others were incorporated into the sewer system itself as it developed.
Nethercott's day job may be running a theatre company with the mission of promoting theatre, community, and social justice in Detroit, but her other passions include freshwater and native ecosystems. Learn more about the work Matrix Theatre Company has done regarding ghost waters here.
This video is part of the ongoing series, "Freshwater Metropolis," a partnership between the Erb Family Foundation, Lawrence Technological University, and Issue Media Group designed to bring attention to water issues and blue and green infrastructure development in Southeast Michigan.
Look for more content in Model D and Metromode. We will be examining how historic waterways fit into blue and green infrastructure development in features to come.
Video by Oren Goldenberg, Cass Corridor Films; produced by Matthew Lewis, with music by Steven Kowalski.