The Guardian Building, Detroit

The Guardian Building Lobby

Last Look at Promenade by – SNWEB.ORG

SNWEB says that the Guardian Building is Detroit’s best kept secret. It is considered one of the most significant Art Deco skyscrapers in the world and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Billed as “The Cathedral of Finance”, the building was designed for the Union Trust Company in the Roaring 20s by noted architect Wirt C. Rowland. A defining characteristic is the use of color. Rowland explained “We no longer live in a leisurely age … the impression must be immediate, strong and complete. Color has this vital power.”

The Guardian Building web site says:

Guardian Building Lobby

Designed by Michigan architects; erected by Michigan contractors; built by Michigan artisans–the Guardian Building is virtually a temple of Michigan commerce and ingenuity. The Griswold Street entrance is crowned with a semi-dome lined with symbolic custom tiles by Mary Chase Stratton’s Pewabic Pottery of Detroit. The lobby features a large glass mosaic and the banking hall’s spectacular mural are both by Michigan artist Ezra Winter. Flanking the sides of the main entrance are reliefs designed by Detroit’s own architectural sculptor Corrado Parducci. In all, forty artisans worked on the structure’s painted murals and ceilings, intricate tile work, mosaic and stained glass, marble fixtures and vaulted lobby.

Check out a slideshow of Guardian Building photos from Flickr. Also see the excellent article Guardian Building has long been the crown jewel in Detroit skyline in the Detroit News’ Rearview Mirror and Guardian Building in Wikipedia.

The Southdown Challenger

Quiet Night on the Detroit River

Quiet Night on the Detroit River, photo by theempirebuilder.

The latest entry into the Small World Files is today’s photo of the 100 year old Southdown Challenger upbound on the Detroit River just above the Ambassador Bridge. Mac of Detroit Bike Blog wondered if I’d seen these photos. I hadn’t and spent a good long while poring through this amazing set of Southdown/St. Mary’s Challenger photos that takes you all across the Great Lakes, under the Mackinac Bridge and even belowdecks.

A few recent ones were taken on Leelanau County’s Suttons Bay. I mentioned that the hill in one of them looked like the hill on a site we had designed for a housing development. Wade, the photographer, said “I’m sure you are right. In fact, in the link you sent, the Challenger is in the 5th row from the top on the far left side.”

Anyway, check out this amazing gallery of photos and also head over to to read the equally amazing history of the St. Mary’s Challenger, which was built in 1906 in Detroit and has gone through a dizzying array of names and circumstances in the century that followed. Seriously, there should be a movie or something about this ship.

Quiet Motion

Quiet Motion by oldbrushes

Quiet Motion by oldbrushes

This photo from Kirk Park, Grand Haven, is part of a set of photos of Michigan beaches & shoreline dunes. In addition to the fact that it’s a great photo, we’re featuring it because we have an in-depth article on Absolute Michigan today titled Protecting Lake Michigan’s Sand Dunes that explores the threats facing Lake Michigan’s geologically unique sand dunes.

Michigan Stadium is Empty Today

As far as the eye can see...

As far as the eye can see…, photo by Trapac.

There will be a ton of stuff all over the place about UM coach Bo Schembechler. I don’t really have anything to add except that he was an illustration of what a person can accomplish if they keep working hard for what they believe in every day, for all their life.

Last Light

Last Light

Last Light, photo by IntangibleArts.

…from the south end of Lake Esau; Presque Isle, Michigan. Sept.06

I was looking for something and then looked at a whole bunch of great photos and then found this one. Hawkins (the photographer) has a blog called Intangible Arts with a post about his September visit to Alpena and the North Michigan woods.

A Little Lomo from Grand Rapids, Michigan

A Little Lomo

A Little Lomo, photo by docksidepress.

Well, this isn’t actually from a Lomo camera, but it certainly has a Lomo vibe.

What the heck is this Lomo, anyway? The best place to find out is at the Lomographic Society International where you can learn about the Lomo’s birth in the LOMO Russian Arms and Optical factory (where the Lomo Compact Automat was born) and subsequent rise to world domination. Almost at least.

Be sure to click on the 10 Golden Rules, where you learn to Take your camera everywhere you go, to shoot from the hip and generally chuck everything you know about photography out the window.

Reading about lomography really made me smile … maybe it will make you smile too.

The Gardener


IMG_9795, photo by William Couch.

Today on Absolute Michigan we unveil a new feature called Michigan Film. This photo is one of many production stills from the first film we are featuring, The Gardener.

Check it out!