The G.A.R. Building Detroit

The Grand Army of the Republic



Well, someone was – a long time ago.  And then left the bottle “under” the basement of the G.A.R. building in Detroit for us to find 100+ years later.

Our teams have been trenching in the basement for a while now and working to locate where the plumbing drains start and end up.  Last week, they hit glass and somehow managed not to break it.

The first bottle is easy.  A half pint bottle from The Detroit Creamery Company.  We found this write-up about them in a News article.

“Over time the big dealers were prevailing. Detroit Creamery Company had the largest dairy processing plant in the state and was considered by many to be the cleanest plant in the country. Every day 303 wagons with teams of horses left their plant and made a total of 50,000 stops, selling more than 20,000 gallons of milk. By 1916 they began using motor trucks for wholesale deliveries.”  and

“The Detroit Creamery Company formed in 1897, and by 1916 built a beautiful state-of-the-art dairy and horse stable at Grand River and Cass Avenue, designed by no less an architect than Albert Kahn.”


Photo via the Albert Kahn Collection

The article states that the dairy was right across the street from the G.A.R..

The second bottle shows no markings.  It’s blue and almost half the height of the milk bottle. Medicine perhaps?  One has to think the worker was pretty sore after digging a basement for the castle.

(The photo shows the current Mindfield office in the background…gonna be tough to leave this space after all these years.)


Photo by 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.

5 thoughts on “THIRSTY?

  1. thank you

  2. Treasure! I found the exact blue bottle when digging around in the garden at home. My bottle has embossed text along the bottom that reads “Emerson Drug Co. Bromo-Seltzer”. Maybe someone was lactose intolerant?

  3. I sure would like to pour classic cocktails for thirsty patrons from behind that beautifully restored bar. When will you be accepting applications? Cheers, Ryan. GinAndJustice@gmail

  4. If you can hold something up and put it down, it is called weight-lifting; if you can hold something up but can never put it down, it’s called burden-bearing. Pitifully, most of people are bearing heavy burdens when they are in love.

  5. I just purchased a 1917 Detroit Creamery Cookbook in Lansing. It has many photos of the new, modern machinery they used to process the milk. In great condition considering it’s age.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s