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The Guardians of Detroit Archive Project

Finding and Preserving Images of the Past


The image above is a piece of architectural sculpture from the Detroit Time building, which was razed in 1978. It is currently on display in the fernery at the Belle Isle Conservatory. I found out about it through a chance conversation.

While doing research for Guardians of Detroit, I realized that the most important aspect of this project is documentation. It has been very difficult to find close-up detailed photos and/or drawings of architectural sculpture from buildings that have been damaged, demolished, or "updated."In so many cases, records have been lost, destroyed, or never existed in the first place. Pictures of entire buildings are relatively easy to find but pictures of individual architectural details are not. I would like to change this.

If anyone out there has photos of sculpture from Detroit's many lost buildings or knows where pieces of these buildings are, please contact me and let me know so photos can be made and lost architectural sculpture can be found, documented and made available through an online archive. A partial list of lost buildings is below. Please let me know of any buildings you feel should be added to the list.

Detroit Museum of Art (1888-1960)

Detroit Times Building (1929-1978)

Detroit Stock Exchange (1931-1983)

Empire Building (1908-1997 or 1998

Old Detroit City Hall (1871-1961)

Old Detroit Main Library (1877-1931)

Old Detroit Opera House (1869-1897)

Old Federal Building and Post Office (1897-1931)

Scripps Library (1899-c.1960)

St. Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Church (1923-1989)

Union Depot (1893-1974)

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