Washington Boulevard Historic District

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Washington Boulevard Historic District
Macomb standing guard over Washington Blvd., Detroit.jpg
Washington Boulevard looking north from Michigan Ave.
Washington Boulevard Historic District is located in Michigan
Washington Boulevard Historic District
Washington Boulevard Historic District is located in the United States
Washington Boulevard Historic District
LocationDetroit, Michigan, U.S.
Coordinates42°20′22″N 83°01′55″W / 42.3394°N 83.0319°W / 42.3394; -83.0319Coordinates: 42°20′22″N 83°01′55″W / 42.3394°N 83.0319°W / 42.3394; -83.0319
ArchitectEdward H. Bennett
Louis Kamper
Hamilton Anderson Associates
Architectural styleCity Beautiful
Renaissance Revival
NRHP reference #82002914[1]
Added to NRHPJuly 15, 1982

Washington Boulevard Historic District is a multi-block area of downtown Detroit, Michigan. It consists of structures facing Washington Boulevard between State and Clifford Streets. In 1982, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It includes the Book-Cadillac Hotel, the Book Tower, the Industrial Building, and Detroit City Apartments among other architecturally significant buildings. Washington Boulevard is one of the city's main boulevards and part of Augustus Woodward's 1807-design for the city. Because Woodward's plan was never completed, the boulevard contains a sharp curve south of Michigan Avenue where it was connected to an existing street.[2]

The street was broadened and ornamented in the early part of the 20th century. The development was inspired by the City Beautiful movement and financed by J. Burgess Book Jr. and designed by Louis Kamper. It was to resemble New York's Fifth Avenue and European boulevards. A sculpture lined park between two one-way streets decorated a shopping district and upscale residential neighborhood Edward H. Bennett, a well known master planner, turned Washington Boulevard into a Beaux-Arts streetscape.[3]

In the late 1970s, Washington Boulevard was redesigned with an urban pedestrian mall that included new sculptures and an amphitheater. It has since been restored to its original plan.


This list below shows the information on the buildings located along Washington Boulevard. This list starts at the Detroit River (south end), and heads northbound, terminating at Grand Circus Park.

Address Building name Building use Year built Architectural style Floors Notes
West side of street East side of street
Detroit River
Civic Center Drive
1 Washington Boulevard Cobo Center Convention center 1960 modern 5 Expanded 1989, 2012 (expected completion 2015)
2 Washington Boulevard Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront Hotel 1965 Modern 25 Stands on the site of Fort Pontchartrain and originally known as the Hotel Pontchartrain; a second tower remains unbuilt
West Larned Street
250 West Larned Detroit Fire Department Headquarters Government (Fire Department) 1929 5 Former Detroit Fire Department headquarters, which relocated in 2013 to the nearby Detroit Public Safety Headquarters in a building that formerly housed the temporary MGM Grand Detroit casino.
243 West Congress Street Marquette Building Government and commercial 1905 Chicago school 10 Houses offices for the Michigan Secretary of State
West Congress Street
211 West Fort Street 211 West Fort Street Office building 1963 Modern 27 Constructed as headquarters for Detroit Bank and Trust, later Comerica Bank
West Fort Street
231 West Lafayette Street Theodore Levin United States Courthouse Court House 1934 Art Deco/Art Moderne 10
321 West Lafayette Boulevard Detroit Free Press Building newspaper 1924 Art Deco 16 Connected via a walkway on the third and fourth floors to the adjacent Detroit Club
West Lafayette Boulevard
1020 Washington Boulevard Holiday Inn Express Detroit - Downtown Hotel 1965 Modern 17 Stands at the site of "219 Michigan Avenue", one of Detroit's first high-rise skyscrapers.
305 Michigan Avenue Gabriel Richard Building offices 1915 Chicago school 10 Offices for the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit
Michigan Avenue
1114 Washington Boulevard Westin Book Cadillac Hotel Hotel 1928 Neo-Renaissance 29 Reopened in October 2008
State Street
234 State Street Washington Boulevard Building Apartment building 1922 Chicago school 23 Constructed as offices and converted to apartments in the 1980s
1234 Washington Boulevard St. Aloysius Catholic Church and Chancery Building church and office building 1924 Romanesque Revival/Gothic Revival 7 Offices for the Archdiocese of Detroit
1265 Washington Boulevard Book Tower Offices 1926 Academic classicism 40
35 West Grand River Avenue Clark Tower Lofts Apartment building 1922 Chicago school 10
Grand River Avenue
1410 Washington Boulevard Industrial Building Apartments 1929 Art Deco/Art Moderne 22 Constructed as office and converted into apartments in the 1980s
1420 Washington Boulevard Julian C. Madison Building Offices 1906 Chicago school 6 Home to the Gardner and Schumaker Furniture Store for many years and known as the Gardner-Shumaker Building
1431 Washington Boulevard Detroit City Apartments Apartment building with parking garage 1981 Modern 23 Constructed as Trolley Plaza Apartments because of the adjacent trolley line
Clifford Street
1514 Washington Boulevard Claridge Apartments Apartment building 1906 Modern 7 Constructed as the Michigan State Telephone Building and later renovated into apartments and refaced
1545 Woodward Avenue Himelhoch Apartments Apartment building 1901 Neo-Renaissance 8 The structure was originally built as an office and retail building and was later leased to upscale women's department store Himelhoch Brothers from 1923 to 1977
1539 Washington Boulevard Detroit Statler Hotel Hotel (demolished) 1915 Georgian architecture, a subset of English Renaissance Revival 18 Razed in 2005
1553 Woodward Avenue David Whitney Building Office tower 1915 Neo-Renaissance 19 Aloft Hotels branded hotel and apartments
Park Avenue
Grand Circus Park


See also[edit]

References and further reading[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ Washington Boulevard Historic District, Detroit Historical Society
  3. ^ Washington Boulevard Historic District, Detroit1701
  • Hill, Eric J. and John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3120-3.

External links[edit]