Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Wagner Bakery Building - MotorCity Casino Question Previous Next
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 5485
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - 10:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It has come to my attention upon the recladding of the old Wagner "Wonder Bread" Bakery Building, part of the MotorCity Casino & Hotel complex, that I really don't know much about it, and its history. My experiences have been pretty limited with it, visiting it a few times as a kid when we'd go down their to buy cheap sweets.

I was wondering when was it constructed, and who was the architect? How many tenants did it have, over time?
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 4274
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 12:11 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Although I cannot answer any questions about the 1915 built bakery building, I can answer the most important one... who designed it.

It was designed by Walter W. Ahlschlager, a rather obscure (today) architect who happened to design 2 of the grandest buildings in the country in the late 1920's.

He designed Cincinnati's 49 story 574 ft. Carew Tower complex, which (like the Fisher Building) was a multi-purpose complex that predated Rockefeller Center.

His other major claim to fame was NYC Roxy Theatre, the "Cathedral of Motion Pictures", the 5,920 seat movie palace that was the largest movie theatre built in the 1920's (razed 1960).

His Wikipedia data:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W alter_W._Ahlschlager

And the best picture I could find (not many good ones available) of the fabulous Roxy Theatre:

http://www.gabesplayerpianos.o rg/html/Roxy.html

He only designed about a dozen theatres, so his name is not among the big theatre architects of the 1920's, such as our own C. Howard Crane, Rapp & Rapp, John Eberson and Thomas Lamb.

I think it is wonderful that MotorCity Casino is keeping the architectural embellishments of his rather minor early work, and even putting touches of his design onto the hotel tower.

Mr. Ahlschlager had his office in Chicago for many years, and died in 1965. But since he was still alive in 1960 when they demolished his pride and joy (the Roxy Theatre), I bet he was pissed...

(Message edited by Gistok on May 09, 2007)
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 5487
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 12:23 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

MotorCity is covering up most of the entire facade with those aluminium panels, aren't they? I know they've already started the recladding, and I was under the impression that the whole facade was going to be covered in those metal panels.
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 4275
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 12:30 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Well not the entire facade...



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Bushay
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Username: Bushay

Post Number: 54
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 12:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have a very nice framed pic of the original Wagner Baking Co. building. I will post it shortly as I need to get it scanned.
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Detroithabitater
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Username: Detroithabitater

Post Number: 1
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 3:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What I don't understand is why they removed some of the stone cornice details from the roofline during the original conversion, now the hotel and casino have the same roof profile that they already removed. Hopefully they saved the cornices?

Weird.
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 4284
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 10:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm glad that MotorCity is taking the "El Cheapo" way of making their renovations, namely putting an aluminum clad "over" the historic brickwork.

Too bad they didn't do that in the 70's era when they stripped the Terra Cotta off of Albert Kahn's Boulevard Building (NE corner of Woodward & Grand Blvd.) to put up those Brutalist cement slabs.

At least "cladding" type of changes are reversible, if there is ever a desire to bring back the old look.
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 5490
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 10:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Can anyone get some good photos of the recladding so I can see exactly how they are doing this? I assume it's a lot like what they did to the Arbaugh Lofts, here in Lansing, where they took the old department store and put a another facade system atop the brick instead of stripping it of its original facade. That way, you can always take off the new facade with minimal damage if need be.
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Matt
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Username: Matt

Post Number: 1185
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 11:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There's nothing to take photos of yet.

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