The G.A.R. Building Detroit

The Grand Army of the Republic



DSC_8413The second display case set up in the lobby currently holds items “found” in the Detroit’s G.A.R. building during the renovation. Our construction team was great at setting aside items they would come across as they dug holes or tore through walls. Over the 2 or 3 years they amassed a few dozen items from the building’s past. We’ve put most of them out just to the right of the elevator.DSC_8411It’s a varied collection of artifacts. Some were of the building itself, many were things the workers would have thrown away while the were building the castle and of course, a handful are items used by the veterans and their associates during the period this was a G.A.R. Hall.DSC_8416The liquor bottles were found in the rafters up in the attic. These appear to be from the period AFTER the “Boys in Blue” used the building. And how do we know this? Well, if you’ve been to Republic for a drink… you too would know the veterans whiskey of choice was “White Horse”.DSC_8412They left remnants of the case behind when they hand crafted their own cigar humidors.

Resourceful gentlemen that they were.

All photos by Lindsey Yeo



We spent almost 3 years negotiating the purchase of the G.A.R. building. The fun began in 2008 and wrapped up in 2011 when we finally signed the papers. One element, which was a concern for all of us, was that there were appropriate displays in the building to tell the story of the Union veterans group.

The Grand Army of the Republic was designed as an entity which would cease to be when the last veteran died. That happened in the 1940’s.DSC_8391Most of the “original” artifacts in this G.A.R. building disappeared in the early 80’s when the city mothballed the castle. We’re told people were just allowed to walk away with paintings, plaques and furniture as the doors were locked for a final time.

While our plans for displays of a larger scale lie down the road a bit, there are 2 obvious spots in the lobby which we have had some fun with in the time since we’ve moved in.DSC_8393The opening pictured here was once a doorway between the lobby and one of retail spaces on the first floor. Instead of simply boarding it up, we created a 2 sided display case with the Republic’s bar butting up on one side.

Pictured here are Civil war era pieces. People entering the building can take them in as they wait for the elevator, others sitting at the bar while they have a drink in honor of the veterans themselves.DSC_8394The canteen and the leather piece were actually carried into battle by our Great Grandfather, a member of the 17th Maine.

All photos by Lindsey Yeo



DSC_8481One of the most underutilized spaces in the new Mindfield offices (currently, anyways) is the balcony level of the original assembly hall. In time, we will create an additional edit suite and have a cool hangout for clients but in the meantime it’s become a conference space and room for a bit of storage.DSC_8485For being a smaller part of the building, it is big on architectural details.DSC_8488If you look closely at the window shapes and the views outside you can piece together where they sit in relation to the building layout.DSC_8472The attractive green paint is an original color to the space – we found it behind a false wall. Fortunately it has grown on us now that we are in.DSC_8484

All photos by Lindsey Yeo



Google says that phrase originally was “hustle your bustle”, a bustle at one point being an element of a woman’s dress. At the time, it meant to tell someone to hurry up. Today, both “hustle and bustle” and “hustle your bustle” have great meaning at Detroit’s G.A.R. building.

A. There is quite a bit of hustle and bustle throughout the building. The teams at the restaurants are at full speed prepping for the soon-to-be opening of the Republic and

B. All of our teams are all in hurry up mode to get the doors open on both the outlets and on the offices of Mindfield, 4 floors up. Our media team has been plotting who will sit where…and is anxious to get in and settled.

A few photos here with some updated shots of whats happening inside.DSC_7883The floor of the Parks & Rec Diner. This space was once a Henderson Glass location. If you look in one of their current shops they have a picture of the building on their walls. The floor is the original terrazzo which we have simply mended and polished. You can clearly see where the front counter was when they were peddling glass.DSC_7885The diner will also be home to 7 hanging light fixtures which we have salvaged and had rebuilt. ’cause why not?!?!?DSC_7896The walk in cooler has been graced with a picture of Christopher Walken. Again, ’cause why not.

All photos by Lindsey Yeo

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Even in the closing stages of rehabbing most of the GAR building in Detroit, she still occasionally surprises us with another “find.”

This key fell out from behind a section of baseboard. It wouldn’t fit into any of the doors in the building. Perhaps an old cabinet that once lived there.

We’re creating a display case in the lobby highlighting all the original pieces found over the last few years.

This will live there amongst the other items.


Photo by Lindsey Yeo

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unnamed (1)From top to bottom… Detroit’s Grand Army building is getting the finishing touches.

2015 is starting just as 2014 ended.unnamed (2)The teams are prepping for doors to open at Republic and the Parks and Rec Diner and we’re packing to move Mindfield into the new space (once the NAIAS is over).unnamed (3)At the same time the trades are putting the finishing touches on the castle… from the ceiling in the assembly hall to the keg cooler in the basement and most everywhere in between.unnamed (4)It’s gonna be a busy January!!!

All photos by Lindsey Yeo