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  1. #51

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    I'm glad to hear the ceiling still exists! Does anyone know if the mural is still there, or any of the other original features? This lobby has always been one of the things I'm most curious about in Detroit's buildings. Knowing that part of it is still there is great. Now I'll just have to wait until the building changes owners and they (hopefully) restore it.

  2. #52

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    When I worked for First of America Bank in the 1990’s , a similar mural of Michigan was in the main banking hall of the Penobscot. It was not the one pictured in the original image, I also recall that all the stained woodwork had been painted white to update the space. When FOA was vacating the building, I recall them removing a portion of the paint to show the intact woodwork. Also of note, was all the empty offices on the mezzanine level with the beautiful wood paneling intact. The horrible part was the attempt to update the space. I remember some pretty hideous 70’s era carpet, artwork, and a hodgepodge of low budget office furniture in the space. What a shame. The Friend of the Court occupied the space after FOA left.

  3. #53

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    Another quirky thing about the Penobscot had to do with the building being built in various phases. On one of the areas in the FOA space, the floor was not level, so there was a small stairway (3 steps?) in that particular area.

  4. #54

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    I wonder if one of the earlier buildings should be emptied, (gasp) torn down and a dedicated parking garage built in it's place

  5. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    I wonder if one of the earlier buildings should be emptied, (gasp) torn down and a dedicated parking garage built in it's place
    No way. there are way too many flat lots downtown where garages can be built. Many within close proximity to the Penobscot.

  6. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    I wonder if one of the earlier buildings should be emptied, (gasp) torn down and a dedicated parking garage built in it's place
    Not gonna happen... the 1905 original 13 story Penobscot Building....
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penobs...Detroit_MI.jpg

    ... and 1922 23 story Penobscot Annex....
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penobs...tAnnex2010.jpg

    ... should never be torn down. They are both on local and national Historic Registers. Even the historic Silvers Building next door (2 stories) was rejected as a tear down for Penobscot parking.

  7. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by David L View Post
    I wonder if one of the earlier buildings should be emptied, (gasp) torn down and a dedicated parking garage built in it's place
    This is just a dumb comment. That will not happen and has already been fought and it lost. The building is owned by Gilbert and thankfully is restored.

  8. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zads07 View Post
    This is just a dumb comment. That will not happen and has already been fought and it lost. The building is owned by Gilbert and thankfully is restored.
    I think that he meant one of the other 2 earlier Penobscot Buildings on the block. The People's State Bank Building of 1902 was already denied permission for demolition for parking, and the Penobscot owner sold it to Gilbert.

    One idea about the People's State Bank Building from about 15 years ago was the idea of putting a 20 story hotel tower on top of the building. Engineers studied the idea, and said that the foundations were so overbuilt that they would be able to support a 20 story tower.

    The architect of the original building was Stanford White (of famous NYC architectural firm McKim Meade & White), and this is his only Michigan commission, besides a mausoleum at Woodlawn cemetery). This building is so sumptuous on the inside, that it would make a very fine Hotel lobby, with ballroom/meeting rooms in the basement level, and other hotel functions on the main floor mezzanine level.

    (P.S. Stanford White was the leading architect of his era, and lead a very flamboyant life... until it was tragically ended when he was publicly assassinated in 1907, for messing with the wrong guy's wife. Google it for an interesting story!)
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Gistok; August-24-19 at 02:15 PM.

  9. #59

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    Don't need to raze another building for a parking structure or parking lot. Improve the transit system especially from suburb to city and more riders will commute downtown via bus. Downtown Detroit was design as the downtown in other major cities at the time. To correlate with the transit system where office and retail employees and others could commute downtown from their neighborhoods by streetcars, railways, taxis, and busses. As far as the Penobscott, the building will not be fully renovated until a more serious person such as Gilbert purchases it and fully utilizes it with offices, restaurants, and retail

  10. #60

  11. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gistok View Post
    As was the case with so many buildings that were "modernized" in the 1950s... the Penobscot Building had it's entrance lobby split up by floors.

    Here is a rare image of the way the building looked when it was first built. Nowhere near as fancy as the Guardian Building, but the original multifloor lobby as built. By the look of it, it's possible that everything still exists behind drop ceilings and covered walls.
    Thank you for including the photo. I always wondered why such a important building had such a depressing lobby, seeing that they have the same architect,Writ Rowland, and being built around the same time as the guardian.
    Hopefully the Penobscot can find a owner ,like Dan Gilbert , that can bring the building back to it's original beauty.

  12. #62

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    The Penobscot Building's lobby is more or less original.

    The image of the big room is of the banking hall on the second floor. I think this area has been converted to a conference room, but I'm not sure, and I'm not sure about the extent of any modifications to this room. There were, however, stairs which led straight from the lobby up to the banking hall, and those were removed.

    The Penoboscot Building was built as a speculative office building with Guardian Bank as the main tenant, and with a banking hall built for them within the building. What is now the Guardian Building was built for the Union Trust Company, but the banks were growing and merging so quickly at the time once the dust settled Guardian was HQed in the Guardian Building. ...and then the Great Depression happened...

  13. #63

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    Anyone heard about the much talked about observation deck that seemed to disappear in the headlines? The owner is pretty shady...

  14. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bradley View Post
    Anyone heard about the much talked about observation deck that seemed to disappear in the headlines? The owner is pretty shady...
    I went on a tour that included the observation deck many years ago. I don't remember it having anything to prevent people from falling (or flinging themselves off). The owner would need to build that before he could open up the deck for tourists. He might not make his money back in tour fees.

  15. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by archfan View Post
    I went on a tour that included the observation deck many years ago. I don't remember it having anything to prevent people from falling (or flinging themselves off). The owner would need to build that before he could open up the deck for tourists. He might not make his money back in tour fees.
    Preservation Wayne (now Preservation Detroit) used to have that as part of their downtown building tours. Now the roof is locked.

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