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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

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David Whitney Building – Detroit Photographs in Black and White

The David Whitney Building in Detroit was completed in 1915, before the Detroit building boom of the 1920’s. It was designed by Graham, Burnham & Co., the successor firm to the D.H. Burnham Company. This was the firm co-founded by famed architect Daniel Burnham, and some have argued that the design was inspired by Burnham. Burnham designed the Dime Building (Chrysler House) right down the street.

In 2013, a $92 million renovation began, and the building recently re-opened, including a new Aloft hotel.

Photographs by Rod Arroyo
www.CityPhotosAndBooks.com

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David Whitney, Building, Historic, Downtown, Detroit, photography

David Whitney, Building, Historic, Downtown, Detroit, photography, black and white, image,  exterior, Woodward
The view down Woodward Avenue from the David Whitney building.

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