DetroitOld PhotographsUnbuilt

Unbuilt Detroit

As we’ve seen on this site over the years, there have been many architectural plan floated that never came to be, on both sides of the river. Here today we take a look at a plan for the Detroit Riverfront that was not to be.

This rendering shows a perspective looking south from Jefferson and Woodward toward Windsor. The building through the arched entrance was a domed memorial hall dedicated to America’s Veterans of World War I. The rendering was done by Hugh Ferriss, one of the most skilled delineators of the first part of the 20th century.

The plan was devised by architect Eliel Saarinen, it was put to a public vote, and in 1925 Detroit voters approved paying for a portion of a modified version of the original plan, seen above in a clay model.

However public funds couldn’t be raised for the balance of the cost before the depression set in, and the project died.

A view of the memorial hall, and ferry terminal.

After the depression and WWII, Detroit set to work on their civic centre, creating Hart Plaza, the UAW Hall, and eventually Cobo Arena and Hall.

A very different Windsor and Detroit could exist today had the depression not come when it did.

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