Civil War Wiki
GAR Building
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Coordinates: 42°20′6.14″N 83°3′19.2″W / 42.3350389°N 83.055333°W / 42.3350389; -83.055333Coordinates: 42°20′6.14″N 83°3′19.2″W / 42.3350389°N 83.055333°W / 42.3350389; -83.055333
Built/Founded: 1897
Architect: Hess,Julius; Raseman,Richard
Architectural style(s): Other, Romanesque
Governing body: Local
Added to NRHP: February 13, 1986
NRHP Reference#: 86000262


The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Building is an historic building in downtown Detroit, and is among the oldest in the entire city. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.[1]


The GAR Building was designed by architect Julian Hess, and constructed at 1942 West Grand River and Cass as an appropriate structure for meetings and other GAR related activities. The cost was split between the Grand Army of the Republic (who paid $6000 of the cost) and the city of Detroit (who paid the remainder of the $44,000 total cost). Construction commenced in 1887 and was completed in 1890. The building stands at 5 floors of height.

As GAR membership was restricted to veterans of the Civil War Union Army, their numbers dwindled through the beginning part of the 20th century. By the 1930s, the GAR had vacated the building and the city took ownership. The GAR building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 13, 1986. More recently the city has attempted to sell the building, but a coalition including the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War brought suit against the city of Detroit to block sale of the building, claiming that a clause in the 1898 deed on the building stated that city must preserve the building as a memorial to Civil War veterans.

Recent developments[]

The Detroit Free Press reports on April 7, 2007 that the GAR Building has been sold to Olympia Development, an arm of Ilitch Holdings, Inc.. The Ilitch family also owns the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers, as well as the United Artists Theatre Building.

The Free Press also said that the sale price was $220,500. Olympia Development is expected to renovate the building at a cost of $2 million, and use it for its staff.

The purchase of the GAR by the Ilitch family was rescinded and the property was then sold to Mindfield USA, a Detroit-based media company ( who plan to renovate the building for use as their headquarters.


  • This Richardsonian Romanesque-designed building lies on a small, triangular lot on the northwest side of downtown Detroit.
  • Originally built for the Grand Army of the Republic club members in Detroit, the building included 13 shops and a bank of the ground floor, office space on the second and third floors, and a small auditorium on the fourth floor.
  • By 1934, only a few GAR members were still alive and the building was given to the City of Detroit. The building was then used by the GAR Memorial Association, a women's group that used it until 1973 when the building was effectively abandoned.

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 

This building was built between the years 1897 and 1900 per the City of Detroit Historical Society, not 1887 as previously listed here.

External links[]

Template:Architecture of metropolitan Detroit Template:Detroit