The G.A.R. Building Detroit

The Grand Army of the Republic



As we head into the Memorial Day weekend and talk generally leans towards summer activities and BBQs… we at Mindfield and the G.A.R. building will stop and remember not only the men who fought during the Civil War but also all the men and women who have similarly sacrificed so much for the United States in the years since.

The photo below was sent to us by a friend of ours who found it in the Burton Collection at the Detroit Public Library. It dates from 1934 and in the waning years of the surviving veterans meeting at the “castle”. The article states there were just 28 veterans left in the Detroit Posts. Their time spent at the G.A.R. would wind down in the years soon after this picture was taken and in time the building would revert back to the city for various uses over the next 4 decades.

We’re all very proud to be a part of this building’s renovation…it’s been an exciting journey to bring this one back to life. More importantly though is the history it holds and the memories of the men it was built to honor.

Please take a moment this weekend and join us in reflection for the true meaning of the holiday.


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.

2 thoughts on “HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!!!

  1. Hello, As the daughter of veterans of World War II (both mother and father), and a great uncle who served in World War I and being married to a Marine who served in Vietnam, I have always been humbled and honored by their service to the United States. I continue to and always will, hold our veterans both past and present, in the highest regard. Again, I am honored to be able to learn about the Grand Army of the Republic building of Detroit…thank you for allowing those who do not live in the city of Detroit to be part of this wonderful endeavor. Cathy Traynor

  2. I’ve been enamoured with the GAR since just a kid in the 70s’. We spent much of our time downtown and midtown. My parents ensured I grew up erudite, open-minded and appreciative of the city, architecture and it’s varied people. We’d pass the boarded-up GAR several times a week and I’d gawk as long as possible, holding in my head as many details as I could. I’d then go back home, make sketches, draw it with my Blackwing #2 pencils and create imaginary floor plans. It was at one time or another everything from a villain’s lair to retail/office to a recording studio to a grand home. (I had many interests, some odd.)

    I currently live far away, so it’s’ great to be able to see it coming back in my lifetime …and so lovingly well done and documented for all to see and enjoy. Now to figure out how to convince Mindfield to allow me a set of casual “study” blue prints or floorplans just to compare with my dusty, decades-old imagination creations.
    Thanks for this unique experience!

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