The G.A.R. Building Detroit

The Grand Army of the Republic



DSC_0315As of today, Detroit’s Grand Army Building is empty no more.DSC_0374After more than 30 years of sitting boarded up and empty, the building once occupied by Michigan’s Civil War veterans or the “Boys in Blue” is again hearing the sound of footsteps throughout.DSC_0389Friday, the moving trucks carried 23 years of belongings just 5 blocks from the Library Lofts building (formerly the Jerome Remick Music Publishing Co) across Woodward and into the castle.  For a day straight, the new elevator brought case after box, after desk after bubble hockey game.  And today, the Mindfield team arrived to unpack and get back to work.DSC_0458 Here are a few shots of the scattered moving boxes and the team trying to find their things.DSC_0467Enjoy.

All photos by EE Berger



DSC_1085Walking through the G.A.R. at this point is usually for a very specific purpose. We dash in to check colors going up on the walls or to see that the final mechanical systems are up and running. Sadly, not too much time spent noticing how far the building as a whole has come.DSC_5426
DSC_8246Every now and then someone forwards a “before” picture… nothing makes you take note of the changes more than that. These show where the stairwells began when we bought the building and where they are today.DSC_8247

NOTE – Our good friend and staff photographer Lindsey left Mindfield for “another guy”. She’s off getting married and making a new home in another state. She will be greatly missed – as much for her awesome talents as the part she played here in the Mindfield family. Her many years here helped shaped our firm into what it is today. We all wish her the most “best-est” of everything that is to come. These new photos here will be some of the last she provides for this blog. Enjoy!

All photos by Lindsey Yeo



It kinda’ looks like a pineapple.

Some time ago we met a woman who used to work in the G.A.R. building in downtown Detroit.

She came up to us after an event and was curious to know if the pineapple was still at the base of the stairs in the main lobby. We were ecstatic at the time – because we had no pictures of the lobby and no idea what to replace in the spot where a pineapple once stood.

We’ve mentioned the hall has been slowly revealing itself to us over the years… almost like a veiled dancer. She’s let another veil drop this week.

We’re told this photo was taken in the 1970’s. Notice the directory in the background and, of course, the pineapple.




Google says that phrase originally was “hustle your bustle”, a bustle at one point being an element of a woman’s dress. At the time, it meant to tell someone to hurry up. Today, both “hustle and bustle” and “hustle your bustle” have great meaning at Detroit’s G.A.R. building.

A. There is quite a bit of hustle and bustle throughout the building. The teams at the restaurants are at full speed prepping for the soon-to-be opening of the Republic and

B. All of our teams are all in hurry up mode to get the doors open on both the outlets and on the offices of Mindfield, 4 floors up. Our media team has been plotting who will sit where…and is anxious to get in and settled.

A few photos here with some updated shots of whats happening inside.DSC_7883The floor of the Parks & Rec Diner. This space was once a Henderson Glass location. If you look in one of their current shops they have a picture of the building on their walls. The floor is the original terrazzo which we have simply mended and polished. You can clearly see where the front counter was when they were peddling glass.DSC_7885The diner will also be home to 7 hanging light fixtures which we have salvaged and had rebuilt. ’cause why not?!?!?DSC_7896The walk in cooler has been graced with a picture of Christopher Walken. Again, ’cause why not.

All photos by Lindsey Yeo

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Even in the closing stages of rehabbing most of the GAR building in Detroit, she still occasionally surprises us with another “find.”

This key fell out from behind a section of baseboard. It wouldn’t fit into any of the doors in the building. Perhaps an old cabinet that once lived there.

We’re creating a display case in the lobby highlighting all the original pieces found over the last few years.

This will live there amongst the other items.


Photo by Lindsey Yeo

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unnamed (1)From top to bottom… Detroit’s Grand Army building is getting the finishing touches.

2015 is starting just as 2014 ended.unnamed (2)The teams are prepping for doors to open at Republic and the Parks and Rec Diner and we’re packing to move Mindfield into the new space (once the NAIAS is over).unnamed (3)At the same time the trades are putting the finishing touches on the castle… from the ceiling in the assembly hall to the keg cooler in the basement and most everywhere in between.unnamed (4)It’s gonna be a busy January!!!

All photos by Lindsey Yeo



GAR_xmasPostIt’s been an exciting year for us here at Mindfield. We are in the final stages of planning the new studio for our team at the Grand Army building here in Detroit.

Outside and all around us the neighborhood is popping. DTE plans to start work on their park across from us in the spring, the Red Wings broke ground on a new arena just a few blocks to our north and of course, a team is being put together to create 2 great new restaurants inside the G.A.R.. If all goes accordingly, Republic and the Parks & Rec Diner will begin welcoming guests in the early weeks of 2015.

As important as all of that is, as we enter into the holiday season, we are taking time to reflect not only on the men whom this building was meant to honor but also all the men and women who have served our country in the time since. The “castle” is an amazing structure and we’re proud to be the team which is restoring it to it’s former glory, however, we ask that no one lose sight of the “why” it was built.

The Detroit Free Press ran an article in February of 1887 – 12 years before construction of the G.A.R. even began. In it was written that the hall would ultimately serve “to perpetuate the memories of all soldiers who ever aided to put down the rebellion”. While the U.S. has not seen a conflict exactly like the Civil War since, countless men, women and their families have continued to make great sacrifices to protect our nation.

We at Mindfield and the entire team at the Grand Army of the Republic building offer up our gratitude to all U.S.veterans and all those serving on active duty around the globe today.


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