Detroit is fortunate to have a broad representation of some of the best architectural buildings that were constructed in the early to mid 1900’s. The Guardian Building is considered by many to be one of the finest art deco high-rise buildings that can be found anywhere. There’s the Penobscot building; another art deco gem and the glorious Fox Theater, built in the golden age of theaters with its fabulous far east motifs , There’s the Rococoish style Opera House and many others, including the majestic Fisher building in the city’s new center area.
Beyond the immediate downtown and new center areas are a tremendous amount of ornate apartment buildings featuring exotic, breathtaking facades incorporating beautiful brick and tile work. There are plenty of art deco styles and mid-century modern apartment buildings. Abundant arts and crafts designed buildings and a blend of southern Mediterranean, Moroccan, Rococo and other decorative styles can easily be found. To me, one of the most fascinating features of the old apartment buildings, are the decorative entryways.
The inviting doorways are spectacular in their fine detail and eye-catching brick work that, in many cases, are quite dazzling in appearance. Complementary windows placed on both sides of the entryways, trimmed to match the door openings, go with some of the entry ways I’ve seen on my bike rides. Other buildings feature vintage lighting fixtures placed above or beside the appealing doorways. Most appear to be hand crafted to match the overall architectural theme of the building.
I’ve spotted arched entryways made of bricks that incorporate colorful Pewabic tile. Ornate textured cement blocks, sandstone, granite and other decorative tile and slate are incorporated into many of the classic, old world apartment buildings as well. In some cases, Romanesque pillars are also featured, as are decorative insets, hawkish looking ethnic family shields and building names carved into marble or granite strategically placed above the entryways.
Many of the classic old apartment buildings, with their fine entryways, can be seen across the city. Large concentrations of them are in the historic Palmer Park area near Woodward Avenue and 7-mile Road. Many of the multi-story buildings in that neighborhood were built in the late 1900’s through the 1930’s and offer some of the most ornate entryways of any apartment buildings found in the city. Other beautiful old apartments featuring decorative, inviting entryways can be found along East Jefferson on both East and West Grand Boulevard, and along many of the main roads and neighborhood streets of Detroit.
Reminder – Click on any photo to view them larger.