The Curious Case of a Lonely Detroit Skyscraper

It was a rainy night when me and my friend left the Tigers game after it was finally canceled. After having flaming cheese, lamb shank and Tiramisu at the very famous Pegasus in the nearby Greektown, we walked into the German Garden and suddenly we saw this mysterious skyscraper standing by itself glowing in the dark. We were struck by its beauty – the very fine proportion of its facade, its ornate classical elements including its columns and ornaments, and most obviously the “showpiece” on the top.

The crowning piece on its top is the most awe-inspiring touch of this skyscraper. It looked to me that “Hunchback of Detroit” may have lived there. With the grand “front doors” opened, he could have summoned any creatures from the sky. I cannot stop but think if the “temple-like” top piece was a church or a mansion for one of the self-made automotive man in the twenties? Or was it a club house with a long pool for the residents in the apartment below? It would have been so cool to have breakfast there by the big window and looking down at the city in the morning back in the jazz days.

Assuming that this building must have “neighbors” before. Now that it is all lonely by itself, there must be reasons why it is saved from the wrecking ball. Could this former Beaux Arts skyscraper be related to a very prominent family like the Whitney or the Manoogian, or a mayor or a governor in Michigan? What were the historic events that have happened there? Was it hit hard by the Great Depression or one of the many riots? And most importantly, how did it end up being vacant and maybe haunted?

Our imagination had gone wild for this “Gotham City-like” skyscraper and my fascination with it does not seem to have diminished a bit. That is all because of the magic and charm possessed by these delicately crafted works of arts. And tell me again, how many of them did the city take down this year?

1515 broadway, detroit – 10:33pm, may 17, 2011

photos below are its other neighbors across the street –

Detroit Athletic Club

Broderick Tower

A very think building (a Detroit “flatiron” building)

Look like a fancy apartment building

The restaurant Pegasus in Greektown


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