The Penobscot Building – Detroit, Michigan
The Penobscot Building at 645 Griswold in downtown Detroit’s Financial District was the city’s tallest building when it opened in 1928 and held that title until 1977 when the central tower of the Renaissance Center was completed. For a very short time the Penobscot Building also held the title of the eighth tallest building in the world and the tallest building in the world outside of New York City and Chicago. It was designed in an Art Deco influenced style Wirt C. Rowland, while employed by Smith, Hinchman & Grylls (now known as SmithGroup) and ranks among his most iconic and career-defining commissions.
Corrado Parducci features primarily Native American motifs, intermixed with captivating but slightly a Native American tribe that originally inhabited a large portion of what is now Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. motorcitycandleworks.com, the Penobscot Indians’ “sole link to the city was to live in the Maine woods deforested by a lumber baron, Simon J. Murphy, who came to Michigan to reap similar logging rewards”.
The Greater Penobscot Building, as it is more formally known, is actually the third building within the block bounded by Fort, Shelby, Congress and Griswold to bear the Penobscot moniker.John Donaldson of Donaldson and Meier, and were built in approximately 1905 and 1915, respectively. The tri-chromatic original Penobscot stands just to the southwest of the Greater Penobscot at 127 W. Fort Street and features gorgeous exterior Beaux-Arts sculpture on the the
Much of Rowland and Parducci’s very best work stands here within the Financial District. The Rowland designedGuardian Building (1929) and Buhl Building (1925) stand within eyeshot, both of which feature Parducci sculpture, and just around the corner is Rowland’s ornately sculpted Bankers Trust Company Building (1925). Nowhere in the Motor City is the genius of Rowland and Parducci so plainly and thoroughly concentrated as it is here, in the shadow of the 565-foot, 47-story, H-shaped superstructure of the Penobscot Building. ~I♥DM