Deep In Brazil’s Amazon, Exploring The Ruins Of Ford’s Fantasyland

Deep In Brazil’s Amazon
FORDLÂNDIA, Brazil — The Amazon jungle already swallowed the Winding Brook Golf Course. Floods ravaged the cemetery, leaving behind a stockpile of concrete crosses. The 100-bed hospital designed by the acclaimed Detroit architect Albert Kahn? Plunderers destroyed it.

Given the scale of decay and decrepitude in this town — founded in 1928 by the industrialist Henry Ford in the far reaches of the Amazon River Basin — I didn’t expect to come across the stately, largely well-preserved homes on Palm Avenue. But there they were, thanks to the squatters.

“This street was a looters’ paradise, with thieves taking furniture, doorknobs, anything the Americans left behind,” said Expedito Duarte de Brito, 71, a retired milkman who dwells in one of the homes built for Ford managers in what was planned to be a utopian plantation town. “I thought, ‘Either I occupy this piece of history or it joins the other ruins of Fordlândia.’”

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