April 29, 2013
historicdetroit.org’s page on the Water Board Building explains:
The Art Moderne-styled Water Board Building has been a familiar part of Detroit’s skyline since October 1928. The Common council provided $1 million in the 1927-28 city budget for a triangular-shaped building on a site bounded by Randolph, Farmer, and Bates Streets. Louis Kamper – a Detroit-based architect known for his work on the houses of prominent Detroiters, as well as Detroit landmarks like the Book Building (1917), the Washington Boulevard Building (1923), and the Book-Cadillac Hotel (1924) – originally planned for a 14-story building. But, “because of the high value of the site, the Board decided that … it would build a twenty story building.”
The completed building reflects the trend toward simplification of forms typical of the Jazz Age. Standing 23 stories, it is comprised of a five-story base, a 15-story shaft, and a three-story penthouse. The total cost – including the $250,000 paid for the site, and the architect’s five-percent commission – was $1,768,760.20. It was one of the last buildings designed by Kamper, who was in his late sixties during its design and construction.
…The BOWC’s new building was constructed in a record-breaking seven months. It was considered state-of-the-art and fireproof by 1928 standards.
Click over to Historic Detroit to read a whole lot more and see a couple of old photos. Also check out the Water Board Building at Detroit 1701 where I found a link to this 300 year history of the Detroit Water Board.
More architecture on Michigan in Pictures.
April 23, 2013
The Adrian Daily Telegram reports that ownership of the Irish Hills Towers has formally been transfered to the Irish Hills Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The towers have been stabilized and are being evaluated, and it appears that the IHHS would need about $300,000 to restore this attraction. Keep up with their progress at the Irish Hills Historical Society Facebook.
This page on the Irish Hills Towers notes that the top of the towers is 1400 feet above sea level, which makes them the highest point in southeastern Michigan. On a clear day (if they were open) you could see for seven miles with a ten lakes visible. Michigan in Pictures has more shots of these iconic landmarks including the history of the towers and a crazy cool photo by Matt Callow.
Darren took the photo and suggests that he’d like to see the towers restored and converted to a museum for Michigan’s Roadside Attractions. Check it out on black and see more in his Irish Hills Towers slideshow.
January 3, 2013
Wikipedia says that 211 West Fort Street is a 27 story skyscraper that was completed in 1963. Current tenants include the Detroit Economic Club, the Bankruptcy Court of the Eastern District of Michigan and the United States Attorney. If you’re a measuring sort of person, it’s the 18th tallest building in Detroit, right after the David Broderick Tower.
More architecture on Michigan in Pictures.
December 22, 2012
Just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world
She took the midnight train goin’ anywhere
Just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit
He took the midnight train goin’ anywhere
~Journey, Don’t Stop Believin’
mLive says that Don’t Stop Believin’ is the world’s all time most dowloaded MP3. It’s certainly one of the most fun songs ever to sing along with, so “South Detroit” is probably the world’s all-time most believed in totally made up place. Former Journey high-note-hitting frontman Steve Perry explains:
“I ran the phonetics of east, west, and north, but nothing sounded as good or emotionally true to me as South Detroit,” he says. “The syntax just sounded right. I fell in love with the line. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve learned that there is no South Detroit. But it doesn’t matter.”
It doesn’t matter … if you don’t care about Detroit at least. Derek explains:
This image, taken facing South, shows you that… well… South Detroit is on the other side of the river… it’s Windsor… Canada… there is no South Detroit…. sorry if I ruined anyone’s Christmas by revealing this “sacred classic rock” information. Makes a good lyric though…
More Detroit on Michigan in Pictures
December 10, 2012
One of the signs that the holidays are approaching that I see on Michigan in Pictures is a surge of visits to the post about Holiday Shopping at J.L. Hudson in Detroit. Hudson’s was demolished in 1998, but the store remains a cherished memory for many.
Wikipedia’s entry for the J.L. Hudson Department Store and Addition says that the building was designed by Smith, Hinchman, & Grylls and named after the company’s founder, Joseph Lowthian Hudson. Construction began in 1911 with many additions throughout the years before being “completed” in 1946. Hudson’s Department Store at Historic Detroit has some great photos and a lot of facts:
- The store was 2,124,316 square feet, making it second in size among department stores to only Macy’s in New York. Even then, Macy’s is only 26,000 square feet bigger.
- The store was spread out over 32 floors: 25 floors, two half-floors, a mezzanine and four basements.
- At 410 feet, Hudson’s was the tallest department store in the world.
- The building had 51 passenger elevators, 17 freight elevators, eight employee elevators and 48 escalators. Its largest freight elevator could accommodate a semi trailer.
- Hudson’s had to have three transformer centers in the store: They generated enough juice to power a city of about 20,000.
- The store had 39 men’s restrooms, 50 for women and 10 private ones for executives. The largest was a women’s lounge on the fourth floor that had a whopping 85 stalls.
- It had 705 fitting rooms, a world record.
- The dining rooms and cafeterias served an average of 10,000 meals a day – not counting the 6,000 meals a day served in the employee cafeteria on the 14th floor. The 13th floor dining room was renowned for its Maurice salad and Canadian cheese soup.
- The store originally had 18 entrances and 100 display windows, which were changed weekly.
- The store featured more than 200 departments across an incredible 49 acres of floor space, and it featured about 600,000 items from 16,000 vendors from 40 countries. The building had 51 elevators serving its 17 floors of retail.
December 7, 2012
The Eli & Edy Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University opened in early November. The museum features the historical collection from the Kresge Art Museum. They explain that:
This collection, which spans cultural production from ancient Greece and Rome and pre-Columbian cultures through Medieval and Renaissance art to the modern and contemporary will enable the Broad MSU to explore the art of our time through the long lens of art history. Highlights of the museum’s collection include: Greek and Roman antiquities; medieval and Renaissance illuminations; Old Master paintings; 19th century American paintings; 20th century sculpture by artists such as Alexander Calder and Jenny Holzer; and works by contemporary artists such as Chuck Close and Ann Hamilton. Collection growth and new acquisitions will focus on modern and contemporary works (post 1945).
You can search the collection at collections.artmuseum.msu.edu. The museum was designed by architect Zaha Hadid who has a fantastic photo gallery of the latest addition to MSU’s campus. You might also enjoy their virtual tours.
More Michigan museums on Michigan in Pictures!
November 30, 2012
“When people go into good buildings there should be serenity and delight.”
Minoru Yamasaki (December 1, 1912 – February 7, 1986) was an American architect best known for his design of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center who ended up making his home in Michigan.
The Detroit News has a feature titled world-class architect Minoru Yamasaki that gives a good overview of the architect and his somewhat tumultuous life, and you should also read the Seeking Michigan feature on Yamasaki and his Michigan architectural practice. Michigan Modern has a list of Yamasaki designed buildings in Michigan as well.
More architecture on Michigan in Pictures.
November 5, 2012
Wikipedia says that the Cadillac Tower was the first building outside New York City and Chicago to have 40 floors with a spire height of 438 ft making it Detroit’s 12th tallest building. It’s a Beaux Arts skyscraper that was designed by the architectural firm of Bonnah & Chaffee and built in 1927 as Barlum Tower.
The building is best known, however, for its hanging murals. From 1994 to 2000, one side of the building featured a 14-story Detroit Lions star Barry Sanders, which was replaced with one of Red Wings star Steve Yzerman. Currently the building features an ad for the Fidelity investments.
More Michigan architecture on Michigan in Pictures.
October 24, 2012
Halloween is fast approaching and the Awesome Mitten has a great post on the Ten Most Haunted Places in Michigan. We’ve visited a few of those places on Michigan in Pictures, but #4 on the list, The Masonic Temple in Detroit, was spooky, cool and new:
Built in 1912 by a wealthy gentleman named George D. Mason, the Detroit Masonic Temple has over 1,000 rooms, and several secret staircases, concealed passages, and hidden compartments in the floors. Mr. Mason went slightly overboard when financing the construction of the building, and eventually went bankrupt, whereupon his wife left him. Overwhelmingly depressed about his financial and personal circumstances, Mason jumped to his death from the roof of the temple. Security guards claim to see his ghost to this day, ascending the steps to the roof. The temple, abundant with cold spots, inexplicable shadows, and slamming doors, is known to intimidate visitors with the eerie feeling of being watched…
Read on for more and share any thoughts you have on these or other haunted Michigan places in the comments below!
The Detroit Masonic Temple is the largest masonic temple in the world, and you can get all kinds of pictures and history including some shots from construction on their website. The theater has its own site as well for events and this weekend they are going Beyond the Other Side. One note about George Mason is that in addition to the masonic temple, he also designed several other Michigan buildings including the Detroit Yacht Club and the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. See Historic Detroit for more.
While it may feel like the Ken Jacoby show with 2 appearances in just a week, his shot was the most brooding of the many interior and exterior photos of the temple in the Absolute Michigan pool. Check it out on black and see more in Ken’s The Masonic Temple slideshow.
August 14, 2012
The Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue (of Detroit) explains that:
The Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue (IADS) was established in 1921, at a time when there were many synagogues located in Detroit. Its principal mission was to address the unmet needs of the Jewish community ― particularly for those who worked downtown, were unaffiliated with another synagogue, or were visiting the city―by providing a traditional (Conservative) Jewish presence in the heart of Detroit.
…As much of the Jewish community migrated to suburban Detroit, the IADS―like the city itself―has suffered from a shrinking population and a depletion of resources. In recent years, daily services have, of necessity, been eliminated. However, the Downtown Synagogue proudly continues to offer weekly Sabbath services, as well as High-Holiday services, the latter of which attracts hundreds of worshippers.
The Synagogue is currently housed in a historic four-story building, a building that it has occupied and owned since the early 1960s. Located at 1457 Griswold Street, it is well situated, but is in serious need of major repair. Currently, parts of it are unusable. However, the unique triangular design creates an uncomparable, interesting space. The potential for this building is far from being realized.
This Sunday (August 19), they are offering J-Cycle, a bicycle tour of historic Jewish Detroit. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Back Alley Bike Project, at the Hub of Detroit, a non-profit organization providing cycling education and services with a focus on youth development, sustainable practices and community access.