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Detroit details: Guess the landmark

What famous Detroit landmark is adorned with this architectural sculpture?
What famous Detroit landmark is adorned with this architectural sculpture?
photo by Einar Einarsson Kvaran under GNU FDL

This detail is an exterior architectural sculpture on the facade of Detroit's skyline-defining skyscraper. The landmark stood as Michigan's tallest building from 1928 until the construction of the Renaissance Center's central tower in 1977. As the eighth tallest building in the world when completed, it was also for a time the tallest building outside New York and Chicago. But which famous landmark is it?

It rises 566 feet (172.3 m) with 45 floors above ground and 2 basement floors. The building is one of Detroit's Art Deco gems from the Roaring Twenties era. Interestingly, as an over 80-year-old structure, it serves a very modern purpose as a wireless fiber optic Internet hub for downtown Detroit.

Art Deco influences abound in its design, including the H-shaped floor plan that allows maximum daylight into the building. Again, this mature building stands the test of time as the call for maximum day-lighting is a major tenet of “green design” and sustainable construction.

A few more clues:

  • The building was designed by Wirt C. Rowland of the leading Detroit architectural firm Smith Hinchman & Grylls.
  • The exterior facade is clad in Indiana limestone with a granite base and it rises like a sheer cliff for thirty stories, then has a series of setbacks culminating in a red neon beacon tower.
  • Interior and exterior ornamentation is inspired by American Indian motifs, particularly in the entrance archway and in metalwork found in the lobby.
  • The first television sets available on the market in Michigan were sold in the retail space on the Griswold street level of this building.

Enough suspense! To find out what famous Detroit landmark this is CLICK HERE

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  • Curt 5 years ago


    Nice story. Do you still like writing for the Examiner?

  • Patty Davis 5 years ago

    I flunked. I need to pay more attention to details.....

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