capitol-park

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Love Letter to The Griswold Street Building.

It had become a haven for the weird and degenerate. Every set I saw here was executed masterfully, filled with friends and strangers dancing together. Often times a small cluster of circles of high energy homies would form and everyone would take turns dancing and goading each other on. Dan Gilbert is ruining that for all of us. After the 28th all tenets will be forced out, some of them had lived in the building for over 15 years. Capitol Park, a place where everyone from skateboarders to senior citizens congregate and enjoy summers is being turned into a consumer hub and shopping district…

My thanks to the kings who opened their doors to a hungry public.

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Today, January 27, 2014, marks the 121st anniversary of the fire that claimed Detroit’s Capitol High School.  The school, formerly the state’s capitol was built on the present day site of Capitol Park—the triangular lot bounded by Shelby Street (then Rowland Street), Griswold Street, and State Street.  When the capitol of Michigan was moved from Detroit to Lansing in 1847, the building was re-purposed as a school.  The board of education controlled the building under a series of leases until the fire. 

The first struck on an icy day in 1893, as the photos attest.  Despite the efforts of several engine and ladder companies, the fire did reportedly $75,000 worth of damage, destroying the building.  Rather than rebuilding, the lot became Capitol Park in 1894. 

Although the building is no more, several modern institutions trace their lineage to Capitol High.  The Detroit Public Library began as a one-room collection within the school in 1865, eventually growing to its own addition in 1870, before moving to the brand new Centre Park Library in 1877.  Central High School was intended as a replacement for Capitol High, and its original 1896 building survives as Wayne State University’s Old Main, while its name is carried on by Central Collegiate Academy, built in 1925 following the establishment of the College of the City of Detroit in its previous location.

A press release says that the Metropolitan Building, in Capitol Park, downtown Detroit is getting a “major facelift” on Friday as workers, suspended from the roof, will blast away “years of dirt, grime and graffiti.”

In June, Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority said a group called Metropolitan Development Partners intends to build 61 high-end apartments in the building along with commercial space and retail on the lower floors. The City of Detroit owns the property.

The countdown continues for the residents at 1217 Griswold, who now have two weeks before they must vacate their apartments.

This is really sad. If you’re one of those “renting a loft in Detroit seems so romantic” types, definitely check this out. It’s beautiful, in a way - the way that things can only be beautiful when they’re hard-earned.