Does the summer sun make anyone else nostalgic? Take a walk down Woodward Avenue and soak up the history of the Detroit. On July 24th, the city is turning 316 years old, and to celebrate we are focusing on the crown jewel of the city: the Fisher Building.
Like the majority of Detroit’s history, the Fisher Building’s humble beginning is tied to the automotive industry. The Fisher brothers, Fredrick J., Charles T., William A., Lawrence P., Edward F., Alfred J. and Howard A. made their fortune making auto bodies for the booming Detroit auto industry. The brothers spent the majority of their vast fortune to bettering the city through charities, churches, and educational institutions. In 1927, the Fisher brothers met with famous architect, Albert Kahn, and told him to build them the “most beautiful building in the world.” The brother’s hoped that the building would be a gift for the city of Detroit and spared no expense.
The Fisher Building, which only took 15 months to construct, shone like a beacon to downtown Detroit. The sheer level of craftsmanship and opulence made it unlike any other building the city had ever seen. The building took the city by storm and the Michigan Manufacturer and Financial Record wrote in October 1928 that “from many angles of consideration, the new Fisher Building is the most distinctive piece of modern construction in Detroit and Michigan.” Kahn drew inspiration for the interior of the building from the wealth and power of the United States expressed through commerce and transportation, and American culture and civilization through music and drama. The building was given the nickname “The Golden Tower” because it was originally covered in gold-leaf faced tile. However, the tiles were covered with asphalt out of fear that the building would be a target for bombs during World War II. After the war, the asphalt couldn’t be removed without damaging it, so it was replaced with green terra cotta tile that we all know today.
The Fisher brothers and Albert Kahn helped shape the future of Detroit and gave us the timeless Fisher Building that became a symbol for the city. There is so much history in our great city. Get out, explore, and #LiveTheHype this summer in Detroit!