Pure Detroit: The Guardian Building

Pure Detroit: The Guardian Building

I spent the majority of yesterday in Detroit with one of my oldest friends, Lindsay. She has been walking me through how to use my new camera and we thought it would be fun way to snap some photos and test out the cameras capabilities.

We toured the gorgeous Guardian Building with a company called Pure Detroit. They offer free tours of both the Guardian Building and the Fisher Building where they talk about both the buildings themselves as well as the history of the area and the surrounding buildings.

Construction on the Guardian Building began in 1927 and was completed in 1929. It was designed by Wirt C. Rowland, who designed a number of building in Downtown Detroit. Rowland was inspired by Gothic architecture and modeled the building after a Gothic Cathedral, the giant Michigan mural being where the alter would normally be. This is why it’s been nicknamed the “Cathedral of Finance”.

The muralist, Ezra Winter also worked on the project and completed the large mural of Michigan and it’s industries in the main banking hall. He is also known for his mural work in the Library of Congress, among other locations.

One of the two Tiffany glass clocks in the main entrance.

There is a “Pure Detroit” shop located in the main bank hall as well as a Bank of America branch and a coffee shop.

The lobby was inspired by a mixture of Aztec, Native American and Art Deco styles.

We had a fantastic time taking photos during the tour. I love this shot of Lindsay in tthe infamous “photographers stance”.

This is a shot of the entrance of Buhl Building, which is right across the street for the Guardian Building. We talked about a number of the historic buildings on the block – the ones that made up the original “Detroit Wall Street”.

We also learned about the meaning of the carvings on the exterior of the building.  These two guards represent safety (the one with the sword) and security (the one with the key).

This is on the entrance of the Penobscot Building. Like the Guardian Building, it was designed by Rowland and creative in an Art Deco style featuring a Native American motif.

If you are ever in the Detroit area, I highly recommend taking the tour. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and the building itself was gorgeous. I’d be in there all the time if I worked down there.

Also, a photographer from the Detroit News was on the tour with us. They took a picture of Lindsay and I can see my hands in one the shots. So, I’m pretty famous now.


Today I am linking up with Erin at Her Heartland Soul for Weekend Snapshots

  • That building looks incredible! It really does look both aztec AND art deco- how fun! Good luck getting to know your camera!

    • thanks Shay! The guide said that when the building was built, architects were looking for new, interesting non-european designs & motifs to work with. That’s how they got onto the Aztec & Native American theme. There are a number of buildings in downtown Detroit with similar designs :)

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