Category Archives: Detroit

Transformation of Detroit’s Dequindre Cut Greenway

By Rod Arroyo, Photographer
www.CityPhotosAndBooks.com

Yesterday I attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Dequindre Cut extension in Detroit’s Eastern Market District. This former rail line extending to/from the Detroit Riverfront has been transformed into a linear greenway that now connects the Riverfront to Eastern Market. I am a frequent visitor to the Dequindre Cut, and the continued investment into this non-motorized pathway is paying dividends to people and local business in Detroit.

Below I share some of my photos from the ceremony and from previous visits. The warm weather is approaching, so it’s a great time to visit the Dequindre Cut.

Detroit Dequindre Cut Greenway

Before and Near Completion - Dequindre Cut

Dequindre Cut Detroit

Dequindre Cut Ceremony-08438

Dequindre Cut Detroit

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Dequindre Cut Ceremony-08384

Dequindre Cut Ceremony-08411

Dequindre Cut Ceremony-08424

Dequindre Cut Ceremony-08427

Dequindre Cut Ceremony-08374

Dequindre Cut Ceremony-08401

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Detroit Skyline Photographs

Many ways to view this spectacular American city

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The Detroit Skyline – there are so many different ways to view places in the city where tall structures rise to create a unique urban landscape. If you find the right location, you can go back in time to the late 1920’s, when Detroit was a showplace for new skyscrapers.

Today I am sharing some of my favorite skyline photos – in black and white. I am always looking for new ways to view the city and share images of this place once known as the “Paris of the Midwest.”

Detroit Skyline Photo

This view along the Detroit River shows the Renaissance Center, built in the late 1970’s, and the Ambassador Bridge, which connects the U.S. and Canada.  This is one of the few instances where Canada is south of the United States.

 

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The Guardian Building – City of Detroit

The Guardian – Detroit’s Cathedral of Finance – Photographs and History

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It was a time of magic for Detroit: the late 1920’s. Detroit was known as the “Paris of the Midwest” and it was a boom town. Skyscrapers were going up all over downtown, and the Union Trust – the City’s largest bank – was ready to make its mark.

The Union Trust Bank specialized in home mortgages. These were abundant in Detroit as the auto industry was growing and better-than-average salaries opened doors to home ownership for blue collar workers.

Wirt Rowland, a young architect with the renowned Detroit firm Smith, Hinchman and Grylls, was selected as the architect. He collaborated with other designers and craftspersons including Mary Chase Stratton of Pewabic Pottery; Ezra Winter, designer of the glass mosaic facing the Griswold Street entrance and the great mural in the main banking room; and Thomas DiLorenzo, the designer of the ceiling in the bank lobby.

Rowland’s design for this 36-story tower was reminiscent of a cathedral, with a high tower at one end, and a nave and aisles extending to the other end. It is fitting that it was called the Cathedral of Finance.

Rowland worked to design and formulate a specialized orange-tan brick for the exterior. The building has 1.8 million of these bricks, which became known in the industry as Guardian bricks.

Six months after completion of the building, the U.S. stock market crashed and the Union Trust Bank soon failed. The company reorganized in 1930 as the Union Guardian Trust Company, and the building has changed hands many times over the years. It is currently owned by Wayne County.

Guardian Rowland 1-

Guardian Mosaic - Detroit

Guardian Building Historic

All photos by Rod Arroyo, All Rights Reserved

Other Related Links
Historic Detroit
National Park Service

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Maccabees Building – Wayne State University – Detroit’s Cultural Center

Renowned architect Albert Kahn designed this 14-story building in Detroit’s Cultural Center. The Maccabees Building was originally constructed for the fraternal organization – Knights of the Maccabees (a.k.a. Supreme Tent of the Maccabees of the World) – which later established the Royal Maccabees Insurance company. It opened in 1927 and is now owned by Wayne State University. This building was originally the broadcast tower for WXYZ radio (both WXYZ-AM and WXYZ-FM) and television, until the station moved to new facilities in 1959. It also was once home to the Detroit Public School System. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Maccabees Building Detroit Photo

Maccabees Building Detroit

Maccabees Building Detroit

Maccabees Building Detroit Wayne State

Rod Arroyo, Photographer
All Rights Reserved

Also posted in Blog, Buildings

Belle Isle Aquarium in Detroit – Photographs of Albert Kahn’s Baroque-Beaux Arts Treasure

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A Detroit aquarium was first proposed by Rep. David E. Heineman, who had once served as the City’s chief assistant attorney. He was successful in convincing the Legislature to authorize bonds for construction. A vote of the people confirmed support for the project and the bonds were issued in 1900.

Renowned architect Albert Kahn designed the aquarium and its next door neighbor, the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory. He chose sea-green tile for the ceiling to give visitors a sense of being underwater. It featured both freshwater and saltwater tanks.

The front of the building, with its Baroque entryway, includes the city of Detroit seal and its motto: “Speramus meliora; resurget cineribus” – “We hope for better things; it will rise from the ashes.”

It is considered to be the longest continually operating aquarium in the United States. It closed in 2005 but has since reopened, and is now seeing expanded support from numerous sources, including many dedicated volunteers.

Photography by Rodney L. Arroyo

Belle Isle Aquarium Photo - Detroit - Interior

The interior with sea-green ceiling tiles

Belle Isle Aquarium Photo - Exterior - Detroit

The exterior with its Baroque entryway

Belle Isle Aquarium Photo - Detroit - Interior Basement

The basement of the aquarium, which is the Winter home for the fish the live in the adjacent pond.

Belle Isle Aquarium Photo - Detroit

An interior display in the aquarium

Belle Isle Aquarium Photo - Detroit Exterior Night - Light Up the Aquarium 2015

A night view of the exterior during the Light Up the Aquarium event.

Belle Isle Aquarium Photo - Detroit Light Up The Aquarium

The aquarium and conservatory during the Light Up the Aquarium event.

For more information on the aquarium, visit http://historicdetroit.org/building/belle-isle-aquarium/ and http://belleisleconservancy.org.

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Detroit Tigers Begin Spring Training Play Today

Spring Training games are underway today | Opening Day in Detroit is April 8, 2016

RenCenBallParkFog-Rod_Arroyo-BW-8x12Comerica Park Photo - Detroit Tigers

Photography by Rod Arroyo

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The Detroit Institute of Arts – Photographs of the Second Cultural Center Masterpiece

In the previous post, the 1913 Plan for “A Center of Arts and Letters” by the City Plan and Improvements Commission was discussed.  The 1913 Plan established the vision for a place for arts and culture in Detroit.  This new Cultural Center was inspired by the City Beautiful Movement that was sweeping the country.  The Detroit Public Library was the first building to be constructed as part of that plan.

The second building constructed as part of Detroit’s Cultural Center Plan was the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA). A commission was established to select an architect to design a new art museum in Detroit.  It included Ralph Booth, Albert Kahn, William J. Gray and Edsel Ford.  In 1919, based on the recommendation of Albert Kahn, the commission chose Paul Philippe Cret, a French-born and Philadelphia-based architect, to lead the project.  Detroit-based architects Albert Kahn and C. Howard Crane contributed to the design process as well.

The DIA is a Beaux-Arts, Italian Renaissance styled building, influenced by the Ecole de Beaux-Arts, where Cret was educated.  The large interior galleries were designed to provide flexibility to display art in many forms.

Architect Paul Cret objected to one of the museum’s most famous works, Diego Rivera’s murals, which he felt defaced the building. Edsel Ford commissioned the murals in 1932 and, while controversial when they debuted, they now are now celebrated as one of the museum’s most significant assets.

In 2007, a building renovation and expansion was completed based on the design work of architect Michael Graves and the SmithGroup.  The renovated north and south wings were refaced with white marble from the same quarry used by Paul Cret for the original building. The expansion added 58,000 square feet to the 600,000 square foot original structure.

This is a place that evokes emotion and reverence.  The building and the incredible works of art that are housed within its walls are priceless.

Rodney L. Arroyo, Photographer
Detroit Photos – Online Sales

 

Dlectricity at the DIA Detroit
Dlectricity Festival – DIA Woodward Entrance

DIA Great Hall
DIA Great Hall

DIA Diego Rivera Court
DIA Diego Rivera Court

Weyerhaeuser and Day Gallery DIA
DIA Weyerhaeuser and Day Gallery

DIA DFT
DIA Detroit Film Theater

DIA Exterior - Woodward
DIA Woodward Entrance

DIA Farnsworth Entry
DIA Farnsworth Entrance

To learn more, read The Architecture of the Detroit Institute of Arts. The Detroit Institute of Arts. 1928 and The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture, by Eric J. Hill and John Gallagher. Wayne State University Press. 2003.

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Detroit Public Library – Photographs of an Architectural Gem

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The Detroit Public Library was the first building constructed as part of the 1913 Plan for “A Center of Arts and Letters” by the City Plan and Improvements Commission.  Detroit and many other cities in the United States were influenced by the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition (World’s Fair) and the City Beautiful Movement.  The 1913 Plan sought to establish a place for arts and culture that would be housed in exquisite buildings influenced by the architects of Europe. Frank Day of Philadelphia and Edward Bennett of Chicago were leaders of this committee. Chicago architect and city planner Daniel Burnham, who was the Director of Works for the 1893 Columbian Exposition and co-author of The Plan of Chicago (with Edward Bennett) consulted on the plan.

Cass Gilbert, was commissioned to design the Detroit Public Library.  He also designed the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC, the Scott Fountain on Belle Isle, and the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse in New York. The library includes Virginia Marble on the exterior as well as pewabic tile on both the interior and exterior. The library opened in 1921.

This is one of my favorite places in Detroit.

Rodney L. Arroyo, Photographer

Detroit Public Library Photo
Woodward Entrance – Cass Gilbert, Architect

Detroit Public Library Professional Photos
Second Floor Ceiling

Detroit Public Library Professional Photos
Second Floor Strohm Room Entry

Detroit Public Library Professional Photos
Second Floor Strohm Room

Detroit Public Library Professional Photos
Cass Avenue Entrance from 1963 Addition Designed by Cass Gilbert, Jr.

Detroit Public Library Professional Photos
Burton Historical Collection Entryway

Detroit Public Library Professional Photos
Burton Historical Collection Room

Detroit Public Library Professional Photos
Pewabic Fireplace

Detroit Public Library Professional Photos
Second Floor Music Room

Detroit Public Library Professional Photos
Second Floor Music Room

Detroit Public Library Professional Photos
First Floor – Copernicus artwork

Detroit Public Library Professional Photos
Stairwell to Second Floor and Ceiling

Detroit Public Library Professional Photos
Ernie Harwell Room

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Downtown Detroit – Photographs from September

I have been fortunate to spend a great deal of time in Detroit this September. Some of my trips have been personal – including 3 days at the Jazz Festival – and others have been for photo shoots of high school seniors. I love the city and I am pleased to share these images with you.

Rod Arroyo www.CityPhotosAndBooks.com and www.PortraitsByRod.com

Detroit - Riverfront Sunset

GM RenCen

Mariner's Skyline Detroit

Detroit Skyline BW

Hart Plaza Detroit

Detroit Jazz Festival -DSC08254

Detroit Skyline

GM Wintergarden

Music Hall Detroit

Grand Army of the Republic Bldg

Detroit

Detroit Book Skyline

Detroit Jazz Festival Hart Plaza

Spirit of Detroit

Penobscot Building

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Wurlitzer Building – Downtown Detroit Skyline Photograph

Wurlitzer Building Photograph - Detroit
The Wurlitzer building once was the home of the famous Wurlitzer Co., which made pianos, instruments, and the “Mighty Wurlitzer” organs for movie theaters. More than 2,000 organs were built for theaters nationwide between 1911 and 1943, including the Fox, Fisher, Michigan and State (now the Fillmore) theaters in Detroit.

The Renaissance Revival style building was designed by Detroit architect Robert Finn, and it opened in December 1926.

The building has been vacant and in disrepair for years. It was recently purchased by a New York developer looking to turn it into a hotel.

For more information, read Dan Austin’s Free Press Article.

www.CityPhotosAndBooks.com
Photography by Rod Arroyo

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