The G.A.R. Building Detroit

The Grand Army of the Republic



0d6c1-dsc_0204-scaled1000and we rarely will either.

We have been fortunate to have a number of outstanding suppliers working to seal up the exterior of the G.A.R. building – but one company that we can’t say enough about is Cass Sheet Metal.  They are currently the only company with a team still on site – putting the finishing touches on the roof and it’s details.

From remnants left in the corners of the attic – we know that the original roofing material was slate.  We found a dozen or so pieces of the flat stone tucked in the eaves.  At some point – that surface was removed and replaced with typical asphalt shingles.a2412-dsc_0206-scaled1000Last spring, as our engineers studied the roof joists, they told us that the roof would no longer support a stone slate.  That being said Sean, Tom and I thought it still important to recreate the look anyways.  Each supplier who bid on the project recommended a similar material – and Cass Sheet Metal suggested both a composite shingle and copper details for the gutters, the “valleys” on the roof and the wall trim where the roof meets the stone.91ca7-dsc_0211-scaled1000Actually, we admitted it would be tough to afford all that copper, but the owners of Cass said anything less would be an injustice to the building and came to the table with an approach that suited both parties.  We will be forever indebted to Cass for restoring this particular feature of the building.

The sun was out Tuesday around lunch time – which gave us the chance to run over from the Mindfield office and grab these shots.

Check them out.6bccf-dsc_0205-scaled1000

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.


  1. Great job you are doing on this building, it looks beautiful. Every time that I drive down there to see my sister I drive bye to see the added work. Keep up the good work.

  2. It looks excellent! Thanks to you for restoring this beauty. Have worked in that area for 28 years and longed to see the GAR back again!

  3. Extraordinary! It is so exciting to know that this lovely architectural gem is being to thoughtfully and skillfully restored. The sharing is much appreciated.

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