The G.A.R. Building Detroit

The Grand Army of the Republic


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SAW Detroit’s G.A.R. has been modified quite a bit over the last 100 years.  A few walls added here… a door moved from one spot to another… we have actually discovered some great old wallpaper that had been covered up at one point by a soffit (we’ll post pictures of that soon).  Last year we demo’d and removed any “added” walls to get the building as close to the original floor plan as possible.Saw_sparks
holeToday, our teams broke through one of the wall on the first floor.  The goal was to create an access point to the basement from one of the restaurants.  Cool power tools but messy work.DSC_8842
DSC_8814Check out the shot from the basement… creepy looking!bricksonstairs

Photos by Mindfield’s Matt Reznik & Lindsey Yeo

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. Indeed, These old structures can present interesting challenges as you attempt to addapt. modify and bring up to standards. I live in a pre-Civil war farm house, post and beam construction, 6″x!2′ planking running verdically up and down, sliding applied on the out-side, and lath/horse hair plaster on the inside. I have also run into news paper gluded to walls which always provides interesting reading only some what out of date. Keep me informed of your progress. When your resturant is ready to serve let me know, I’ll come dressed in G.A.R. Uniform and have a meal.

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