Historic Detroit

Hotel Yorba

The Hotel Yorba was constructed in 1926 at an estimated cost of just under $200,000 by the Detroit architectural firm of Pollmar & Ropes for Samuel Plotkin, a Russian born Jew who came to Detroit in 1906. Plotkin built and managed several hotels in Detroit and Pontiac, the Yorba being one of them.

The Yorba stands as a landmark as seen from the Fisher Freeway near the Clark Street exit. The most recognizable feature of the building is the large sign supported on a metal structure that says “Hotel Yorba”. The edifice is four-stories tall with a resurfaced first story and brick above. Its facade consists of a wide central section separated from the flanking sections by narrow strips of quoins. It is symmetrical: double-hung sash windows occupy the upper three stories: the windows at the first floor level have been modified.

The outstanding feature of the exterior of the Yorba is the entrance. a pair of wooden doors is flanked by single wooden doors: above the double doors is a segmental pediment over the lintel that bears an insignia set into a crest. Stained leaded milk glass is set into the three-part wooden frame above the doors. to the sides of the entrance are tall columns bearing the frieze that is inscribed with the name “Hotel Yorba”.

The Hotel Yorba was home sweet temporary home for a number of workers building the nearby Ambassador Bridge in the late 1920s. Today, it’s mostly a flophouse, offering short-term stays.

The building is most notable for being Jack White’s muse; he wrote a hit song called “Hotel Yorba” that appeared on the White Stripes record “White Blood Cells” in 2001.