Historic Detroit

Lawyers Building

This home of Slurpees was once the home of lawyers.

The Lawyers Building opened in 1923, across from what was then the Wayne County Courthouse (today known as the Old Wayne County Building). It was once, unsurprisingly, an office building for a number of lawyers and law firms.

The 10-story structure was built on the site of the Hotel Wobrock.

It was built by John Barlum as part of his suite of Cadillac Square developments in the 1920s. Barlum also built Cadillac Tower (originally Barlum Tower) in 1927 and the Cadillac Square Apartments (built as the Barlum Hotel) in 1925-27. All three were designed by Bonnah & Chaffee, Barlum’s architectural firm of choice.

The firm’s other work for Barlum included the Hotel Lewis, at 5725 Woodward Ave., for Barlum in 1924; the Merchant’s Building at 206 E. Grand River Ave. in 1922; and the Barlum Apartments at 25 E. Palmer St. in 1922.

Barlum was ruined by the Great Depression, having lost all of his properties following the Stock Market crash of 1929.

Later in its life, perhaps because it became a home to unions and other organizations instead of lawyers, the building was renamed the American Title Building. The company, obviously, was among the building’s tenants.

The building closed in the 1980s and has been empty for years, other than a 7Eleven convenience store opening in the ground floor in 2014.