Hotel Yorba (Detroit)


“Well its 1 2 3 4

“Well its 1 2 3 4

take the elevator

at the Hotel Yorba

I’ll be glad to see you later

all they got inside is vacancy"

- From the song Hotel Yorba by The White Stripes

Located at 4020 Lafayette Blvd in the Hubbard Farms neighborhood of Detroit, the Hotel Yorba is used for government subsidized housing as opposed to an actual hotel.

The neighborhood as well as much of Detroit has fallen on hard times and according to an article in the Detroit Free-Press, the Hotel Yorba could be partly to blame for the crime problems:

In better days, the hotel was a clean, modest place that became a de facto retirement home, mostly for single older men who liked the cafeteria and laundry service. But its cheap rates and proximity to highways and bus stops made it an ideal location for the state’s prison parole program. For two decades, the Michigan Department of Corrections placed parolees at the Yorba, though it stopped the practice in 2003.

But the hotel became known as a place for people on hard times. Police records from 2006 show officers responded to calls to the Yorba for alleged rape, suicide, gunshots, drug activity and armed robbery. In 2004, a man living there killed a co-worker with a sword he made himself.

The Hotel Yorba is a bit of rock-n-roll icon made famous by Detroit’s own Jack and Meg White of the White Stripes. The single version of the song was recorded in one of the rooms of the hotel and the music video features a few scenes from outside the building, although they were denied permission to film inside.

written by graycard on 2008-07-29 #places #history #hotel #brown #location #detroit


  1. severin
    severin ·

    very nice location !

  2. graycard
    graycard ·

    I meant to give better attribution by using quotes or italics for the two paragraphs from the Free-Press article. I just wanted to clarify that the paragraphs that start with "In better days..." and "But the hotel..." are from the newspaper article.

  3. bravopires
    bravopires ·

    amazing hotel yorba. beautiful lomographs,

  4. myloveletter
    myloveletter ·

    awesome photo essay and story! it's really cool to see the real story behind the song. or the backdrop of the song.

  5. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    brrrrrrrrrr...scary place!
    cool reportage!

  6. lomaugustry
    lomaugustry ·

    I just went and checked this out myself it’s just a cool and terrible in person.

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