The G.A.R. Building Detroit

The Grand Army of the Republic


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We have been fortunate to find a handful of Grand Army relics in the building, the marble marker from the original ribbon-cutting event, a number of storage “plaques” denoting the different groups which met at the G.A.R., even some ceremonial flag stands which once held banner of some sort.

One of our most recent discoveries tells a different sort of history of the building. It’s a wooden spoon. One of the trades found it while cleaning up debris and fortunately they set it aside for us.

After the building was completed – the veterans of the Civil War held meetings, attended concerts and at times ate great big meals in the assembly hall on the fourth floor. We know this because we’ve found a photo or two of long tables decked out with fancy flowers and table settings.  We’re guessing the spoon was a leave – behind from wherever they prepared meals for them.

The spoon we’ve found is an old one.  It is a step above hand carved but not quite machine made.  It seems more of a stirrer, if that’s a word.  Someone, 100 years ago, used it to make a meal for the “Boys in Blue”.

Keep an eye out for it.  My guess is it will wind up displayed in one of the restaurants.e2bf8-gar-woodenspoon-21jan13-blogpic-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.

One thought on “THE WOODEN SPOON…

  1. Keep up the awesome work!! It is so great to see!

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