Tag Archives: Detroit

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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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.

Photography by Rod Arroyo

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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


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

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The view down Woodward Avenue from the David Whitney building.

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Detroit’s Belle Isle – Photographs of an Island Jewel

Belle Isle, originally known as Hog Island, was first settled by French explorers in the 1700’s. With approximately 900 acres, Belle Isle is the country’s largest city island park, exceeding the size of New York City’s Central Park. The island was planned by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, the man credited with establishing the landscape architecture profession. Most of the well-known buildings on the island were designed by famed Detroit architect Albert Kahn.

Belle Isle became the 102nd state park in Michigan in 2014.

Photographs by Rod Arroyo, www.CityPhotosAndBooks.com

Belle Isle Detroit Photograph Black and White

Belle Isle Detroit Photograph Black and White

Belle Isle Detroit Photograph Black and White for sale

Belle Isle Detroit Photograph Black and White for sale

Belle Isle Detroit Photograph Black and White

Belle Isle Detroit Photograph Black and White for sale

Detroit Belle Isle Conservatory Photograph

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