One of my favorite horror films was released back in the 80’s and starred George C. Scott as a widower who moves into an old mansion somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. By the end of the movie he tears through a fake wall to discover a hidden attic and the spirit of the murdered child who haunted him. While we don’t think the G.A.R. building in Detroit is haunted, we did have a similar experience in ripping through a plywood barricade to gain access to the attic. With flashlights in hand, we unscrewed the boards, crept up a narrow staircase to the sound of pigeon bones and decades of bird mess crunching underfoot. We actually never even saw the attic until after we purchased the property. We we’re told it was “unsafe” to be in.The wait was well worth it though as it has become one of our favorite (albeit unusable) spaces in the G.A.R. When complete it will hold most of the HVAC system for the building and mostly serve as passage way to the turrets and up to the roof. The attic ceiling is about 20 feet high at the peak, has phenomenal curved walls outside the turrets and virgin pine joists, some as large as 12″ square. Take a look around. Sadly, this one stays off the tour.
Photos by Mindfield’s Lindsey Yeo