The Book Tower, Detroit

June 23, 2009

The Book

The Book, photo by gatsbyj.

Wikipedia’s Book Tower entry says that:

The Book Tower is an Italian Renaissance styled tower in Detroit, Michigan. Construction began in 1916 as an addition to the original Book Building and finished a decade later. Designed in the Academic Classicism style, it is 475 feet (145 m) and 38 stories tall (not including two basement levels), with two mechanical floors at the top encasing the green copper roof, a roofing style shared by the nearby Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel. Retail and gallery floors used to reside on the first and second floors, with businesses previously occupying the rest. Sadly, as of 2009, the building is unoccupied.

Named after the famous Book Brothers of Detroit, it was briefly the tallest building in the city until the completion of the Penobscot Building in 1928. A taller Book Tower of 81 stories was to be built at the opposite end of the Book Building, but the Great Depression cancelled those plans.

The Book Building and Book Tower are now completely vacant. You can get a map to the Book Tower from Wikimapia. Emporis has more about the Book Tower and also more of the buildings designed by architect Louis Kamper. If you’re wondering about the Penobscot Building, Michigan in Pictures has that covered.

See it bigger in Christian’s About Detroit set (slideshow).

3 Responses to “The Book Tower, Detroit”

  1. Joel Says:

    From the Emporis writeup:

    The Book Tower was part of the Washington Boulevard redevelopment, a project by J. Burgess Book, Jr. and his brothers which transformed a run-down area of Detroit into one of the world’s most fashionable streets. Planned in 1915 by Edward H. Bennett of Chicago according to principles of the City Beautiful movement, this project was realized between 1916 and 1930.

    And now run-down again. While it’s hard not to be pessimistic about Detroit, it’s had bad times before. And good times will surely return–perhaps within my lifetime.

    Great find, Andy.

    Postscript: “…two mechanical floors at the top encasing the green copper roof…” Surely that’s incorrect.

  2. Jim Pleiss Says:

    Too bad that a company like DTE or CMS couldn’t move into one of these historic buildings and save them from the inevitible wrecking ball; they are only rotting and Detroit too willing to eliminate its historic past for glass and plastic. Detroit contributed immeasureably to the greatness of this entire country.


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