The G.A.R. Building Detroit

The Grand Army of the Republic



Although the Grand Army of the Republic building did not have the first electric elevator in the city of Detroit, it did have one of the earliest. (Apparently that honor goes to Wright-Kay building on Woodward and John R). So, one of the first questions we had when we took possession of the “castle” was what shape the elevator was in. Installing a new elevator in a well preserved shaft is expensive enough, if we had to do major structural work things could have gotten ugly quickly.

Once again we got lucky. Somehow, the elevator chase escaped any significant damage. The elevator itself was toast but anything we needed to install a new lift was right where it should have been.

When we talked finishes with the elevator company we requested they salvage anything possible for the new cab. Sadly, 100 year old elevators do not offer much up along the lines of re-use. The one element that did show some sign of life was the original roof of the cab. We had to hope that under 20 layers of paint there would be something interesting.DSC_7833Like solid steel.

After a bit of work by George (one of our favorite workmen) and a period light fixture from Senate Resale (our favorite shop for stuff we don’t really need) we’ve got just enough old to offset the new.

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.

6 thoughts on “IT’S A KEEPER

  1. Another awesome look at the wonderful work on the GAR Building. So many people to thank for such wonderful results.
    By the way, wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a spectacular New Year with somewhere new to eat 🙂

  2. Thank you Wenda for your continued support of the G.A.R.. We’re in the homestretch now. I can tell you from the test foods that have been coming out of the kitchen are pretty awesome. I am excited to have people over for dinner soon

  3. Fantastic. We cannot wait to take a ride

  4. Reblogged this on Picture Detroit and commented:
    Enhancing the new with the old… Two thumbs up!

  5. You guys rock. Every time I’m on the People Mover or driving by, I’m in awe of the fact that you undertook this project of epic proportions. And done such a fantastic job! ❤

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