The G.A.R. Building Detroit

The Grand Army of the Republic



Every time we think we’ve found the last of the cool “leftovers” in the G.A.R. building in Detroit – she comes back at us with something we’d never imagine.

Early on it was a carved wooden spoon, we’ve since found whiskey bottles tucked away in the rafters, an 100+ year old milk bottle and a pick ax (which we still have no idea why that was left above a ceiling joist).

Our latest find might be one of the coolest.

We have 2 awesome gentlemen who are helping with the miscellaneous jobs around the building. There names are George and Terrance (who goes by “T”). One of my favorites things is to see either of them when we walk through the castle – always a great smile and a quick hello.

A few weeks back they were cleaning 2 of the I-beams in the basement – so that we could coat them and cut down on any future rust. After the scraped the sides of one, some print came into focus… C-A-R-N-E-G-I-E…(odd)…a bit more revealed S-T-E-E-L.

Carnegie Steel.

Andrew Carnegie purchased a few steel mills in Pennsylvania in the 1880’s. In 1892 he assembled all his steel holdings and formed the steel company with his name on it. Less than 10 years later he sold his firm for the equivalent of what would be more than 13 Billion of today’s dollars.

Somewhere in between he shipped a few pieces to Detroit to hold up the Grand Army Building.

Our friends George and “T” have now made sure they stick around for another hundred years or so.

Cool, eh?

Carnegie Steel

Carnegie Steel

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.

3 thoughts on “RIDICULOUS

  1. What a fabulous new “find”. It never seems to amaze me at the careful work on this building which results in so many historic items located. What a story! Maybe someone should write a book entitled “Searches in the Castle,” or something like that about all the wonderful things that have been unearthed during all of this fantastic work. Wenda Fore

  2. Wow – very cool on the Carnegie Steel beam. Perhaps you should have a limner outline it in white, and leave just that section of the beam visible to passers-by somehow. Or the very least, get a really high-res pic and frame it for your displays.

  3. I love following your journey on the renovation. I drove by this building 1,000s of times when I worked downtown….and may just have to wander in through your offices after your big reveal

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