The G.A.R. Building Detroit

The Grand Army of the Republic


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G.A.R. WallpaperWe’re told that at one point, there were upwards of a dozen or so small shops on the first level of Detroit’s G.A.R. building. Back in the day (pre-Target) you’d go to one shop for women’s hats, another for men’s collars and a third for children’s toys. As we pull down walls and remove soffits, we’re occasionally revealing remnants of what these interiors might’ve looked like.G.A.R. Wallpaper 2In the first floor area where we will build out the restaurant kitchen we’ve found a strip of original wallpaper border. We’re guessing it was hung close to the turn of century and in one of the building’s first stores… largely because it covered up when they added more modern utilities to the building.G.A.R. Wallpaper 3There is a great “period” wallpaper website called “Bradbury and Bradbury”. They make and sell reprints of historic wallpapers. After a quick scan of their site, there were no images of this particular design, but we think what we found would fall into an early era of the building’s history.

Here are a few shots taken from ground level…

Photos by Mindfield’s 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.

One thought on “SCRAPS

  1. It is most interesting reviewing your progress reabilitating the old G.A.R. building. I’m looking forward to when the remodeling is completed. Perhaps you have considerehaving grande opening event which might include the inviting of Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War. I’m certain there are many of my conrades who would be delighted to come in uniform and period dress to celebrate your grande opening.

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