Monday, August 10, 2015

Detroit's castle: The Grand Army of the Republic Building

Mrs. Marathon Pundit says, unfairly, I'm posting only unpleasant photographs from my July trip to Detroit. Not true! Here is one that isn't. And in it's own Detroit way--here is a beautiful scene.

But did you know that downtown Detroit has an imposing castle? Yep, it's the Grand Army of the Republic Building. The Richardsonian Romanesque-Revival structure opened in 1898. It's a triangular shaped building--and that indicates a healthy city. When land is scarce--developers will erect units on any available spot--even if it's not square shaped. Although in the 1890s, the automobile industry was still in its infancy and the future Motor City didn't have a big league baseball team yet.

Grand Army of the Republic was a fraternal organization for Union army Civil War vets that was founded in 1866.

The city of Detroit paid for most of construction costs of this building--the GAR kicked in a little. By the 1930s--there were few Civil War vets living and Detroit took over the building.

It stood vacant for thirty years until 2011 when Mindfield, a media company, purchased it. Renovation started almost immediately there is about six months worth of work left, but the two first floor restaurants are open now.

Yes, there is good news to report from Detroit!

Oh, when I saw the GAR building--I immediately thought of the Red Castle in Terry Gilliams' The Fisher King--and I half expected to see Jeff Bridges breaking into it.

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