The G.A.R. Building Detroit

The Grand Army of the Republic



With more and more windows being refurbished and set back in place, we are getting a better look at things in the daylight.  Although the interior of the building is generally pretty spartan in it’s design, we do occasionally come across some nice details that have survived thru the years.  The more research we do, the more we realize the architects did not have a limitless budget when they built the G.A.R.  We are lucky that vandals for the most part left this historic place alone.baf38-gar10sept12_1-scaled1000One of the first things to go in an abandoned building are the spindles off the staircase.  Somehow, most of ours survived.21b12-gar10sept12_2-scaled1000The capitol on this column could not escape some artistic interpretation over the years.95809-gar10sept12_3-scaled1000This one somehow avoided the paintbrush.  Check out the great natural crackle effect.bd49a-gar10sept12_4-scaled1000Perhaps one of the coolest features of the building is the balcony in the assembly hall on the fourth floor.  Here is a close up of that curved fascia which fronts it.760b5-gar10sept12_5-scaled1000This particular feature will be the hardest to preserve, we will probably wind up having to replace it altogether.  The proscenium in the assembly hall seems to have been hit with water at some point.  We have a great photo of the veterans sitting on a stage (which is no longer there) next to this plasterwork.  We also hope to replace a mural of a Civil War battle scene which was on this same wall.

Author: G.A.R. Building

The G.A.R. building was purchased by the media production firm Mindfield from the City of Detroit in November, 2011. Mindfield has started renovating the G.A.R., with opening slated for November 2014. Mindfield plans to occupy the top two floors itself, lease the ground floor for 2 restaurants, and dedicate a memorial to Civil War Veterans. The G.A.R. Building was designed by architect Julian Hess, and constructed at 1942 West Grand River and Cass as an appropriate structure for meetings and other G.A.R. related activities. The original construction cost was split between the Grand Army of the Republic (who paid $6000 of the cost) and the city of Detroit (who paid the remainder of the $44,000 total cost). Construction commenced in 1897 on the five-story building.

3 thoughts on “DETAILS, DETAILS…

  1. Thoroughly enjoying everyone of your updates. Hope to be able to be part of a public tour someday of the building.

  2. You guys are great! Keep up the good work. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

  3. It will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore this building. If it is a landmark, loved by the public and you have a following upon it’s restoration. The job and the funds for restoration should be obtainable.

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