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Bulldozed: Romney's boyhood home now just a memory

John Makely / msnbc.com

An empty lot in Detroit's Palmer Woods neighborhood where Mitt Romney's boyhood home once stood.

Mike O'Brien of NBCpolitics.com writes:

DETROIT -- All that's left of Mitt Romney's boyhood home is an empty lot, his family's old house in Detroit's Palmer Woods neighborhood having been bulldozed two years ago in May.

The Romney family home fell victim to a familiar predator in the city of Detroit: abandonment and blight. The city ordered the demolition of the home, at 1860 Balmoral Drive, in 2010 as part of an initiative to address blight throughout the city.

Romney has made frequent mention of his roots in southeast Michigan during his campaigning before Tuesday's primary in the state. He elaborated on the fate of his boyhood home, in which the family lived until 1953 according to the Boston Globe, at a stop Thursday evening in Milford:

 "I was born in Detroit, Harper Hospital, our home was right around six-mile and Woodward, a place called Palmer Park. And uh, we had a home there. It’s been bulldozed now because it turned, I guess, into an eyesore or a place where drugs were being used so they had to tear it down. It was a lovely home."

Ricardo Thomas/ The Detroit News via AP

This May 15, 2010 photo shows the onetime home of Michigan's Romney family in the Palmer Park section of Detroit. A demolition crew in Detroit torn down on Tuesday June 8, 2010 the 5,500-square-foot house that was lived in by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney when he was a child. The dilapidated, two-story home torn down Tuesday in the Palmer Woods area was one of 3,000 set for demolition this year under Detroit Mayor Dave Bing's plans to improve neighborhoods by getting rid of dangerous structures and eyesores.

 It's a different portrait of the property painted in an Associated Press story about the demolition:

 Unlike thousands of other vacant houses in the city, the structure at 1860 Balmoral in Detroit's exclusive Palmer Woods area wasn't open to trespass, neighbors said as it crashed and crumbled to the ground.

 There didn't appear to be any vandalism and it certainly didn't become a haven to drug dealers like many others across the city, 58-year-old Tyrone Stewart said.

Mike O'Brien / msnbc.com

Boarded up storefronts on Woodward Ave. near Palmer Park in Detroit.

 The Palmer Woods neighborhood is hardly a portrait of poverty or disrepair; most of the homes in the community are well maintained and worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, even in a depressed housing market. A golf course and the University of Detroit Jesuit high school, an all boys' Catholic prep school, are nearby. A more familiar sight of abandoned and crumbling storefronts stand across Woodward Avenue at 7 Mile, opposite the east end of Palmer Woods.

 Len and Barb Marshick of Belleville, Mich. said at a Friday night rally for Rick Santorum, Romney's main opponent in the Michigan primary, that they drove by the Balmoral Drive property during its demolition. They bemoaned the destruction of the link between the would-be president and the community that raised him.

 "Romney hasn’t lived here for so long, I just don’t think the average person thinks he’s a Michigan guy," Barb said.

Slideshow: Mitt Romney

Story: Romney begins closing arguements in Michigan

Paul Sancya / AP

The former home of one of Michigan's most prominent political families lies in debris after being demolished in Detroit Tuesday, June 8, 2010. Crews demolished, as part of Detroit's plan to tear down neighborhood eyesores and dangerous houses, the 5,500-square-foot, two-story structure where George Romney raised his family for a time before being elected governor. Former Massachusetts governor and one-time Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was raised in the home in the once prestigious Palmer Woods area.