Historic Detroit

Detroit Savings Bank Building

This building, nearly unrecognizable today after its exterior was mangled, was originally the stately Chamber of Commerce Building — Detroit’s first steel-framed and oldest surviving skyscraper.

The Chamber was formally organized Jan. 5, 1892, as a place where the city’s business leaders, merchants, bankers and manufacturers could gather and work together. The group set out to build a home “on a scale commensurate with the size and importance of Detroit.” The result was this building on Griswold and State streets, overlooking Capitol Park. It was designed by the firm Spier & Rohns and dedicated May 2, 1895.

That makes it the city’s oldest surviving skyscraper, though it has long since been dwarfed by far taller buildings.

The Detroit Savings Bank bought the structure in 1915 and renamed it after itself in 1921. The bank would undergo some name changes itself, becoming the Detroit Bank, Detroit Bank & Trust and then finally Comerica in 1982. Comerica abandoned Detroit for Texas in 2007, leaving the city that had been its home for 158 years.

The building was the home of the United Way for Southeastern Michigan for a couple of decades before a 2015 renovation saw it become the home of the Archdiocese of Detroit, as well as 56 apartments.