Discuss Detroit Archives - January 2008 211 West Fort Previous Next
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Fastcarsfreedom
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Username: Fastcarsfreedom

Post Number: 285
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2008 - 9:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So, a previous discussion about Detroit Bank & Trust's pre-Comerica Indian head logo got me thinking about the former DB&T HQ at 211 West Fort--I had a look through the archives and couldn't find reference--so if it's a repeat thread I apologize in advance.

The "heritage" main branch facing Fort--with the incredible stone columns and decorative work--assume this was a facade preservation and the modernist branch (still occupied by Comerica) that one enters behind those columns went up with the rest of the building in the 60s...can anyone confirm this?
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Fastcarsfreedom
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Username: Fastcarsfreedom

Post Number: 287
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 7:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

None of the architecture geeks here have any info for me?
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Neilr
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Username: Neilr

Post Number: 707
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 7:34 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

From the Hawkins Ferry book: "New York set the pace for another Detroit building in the classical tradition. Albert Kahn's Detroit Trust Company of 1915 (now Detroit Bank and Trust Company) on the sw corner of Fort & Shelby streets followed closely McKim, Mead, and White's Knickerbocker Trust (1904) in NYC. Lavish Corinthian columns and pilasters were intended to give the impression of wealth, permanence, and security, at the same time permitting generous fenestration. In 1926 the building was widened 100 feet to the west, and in 1966 it was completely modernized."
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Fastcarsfreedom
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Username: Fastcarsfreedom

Post Number: 289
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 - 10:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks Neilr--I was curious as to whether it was a demolition leaving the facade or if it was merely gutted and rebuilt from the inside. The first time I walked in I was completely shocked--I was expecting to walk into a dark, classical old banking hall--instead I was greeted with something similar to main NBD branch at the base of the cheesegrater (itself the work of Kahn's company).
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Southwestmap
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Username: Southwestmap

Post Number: 988
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 - 9:54 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Regarding this bank: it's fallen into disrepair recently. No one picks up in front (they wait for the Penske team). The fine 'world times' clock no longer works. I mentioned it to the manager and he blew me off. Said it's never worked in "years and years" - but it was working three years ago. Its also surprising that a boom-box plays R&B music from behind the tellers' station. Together this tells me that there is little respect for its heritage and customers.
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Fastcarsfreedom
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Username: Fastcarsfreedom

Post Number: 290
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Wednesday, April 09, 2008 - 7:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It's unfortunate Southwestmap--I noticed the expanses of space that Comerica no longer uses--the entire eastern half of the branch (which is elevated a step or two is an expanse of brown carpet--and nothing else. Clearly when the main branch went over to One Detroit Center this place was left to go to seed--at least somewhat. Frankly surprises me that this branch survived the Manufacturers merger and the HQ move--I'm guessing Comerica owns the real estate.

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