Tag Archives: history

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. ┬áThis 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

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Historic Detroit
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