Historic Detroit

Park Shelton

The Park Shelton started its life as the Wardell Apartment Hotel, built by Fred Wardell, president of the Eureka Vacuum Cleaner Co.

The 12-story building stands at Woodward Avenue and Kirby Street. It was designed by the firm Weston & Ellington and formally opened Sept. 25, 1926. The Wardell’s main selling point was its location, with the Detroit Public Library and Detroit Institute of Arts as its neighbors.

Artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo stayed here in 1932, while Rivera was in Detroit painting his famed “Detroit Industry” murals at the DIA.

Ten years later, the structure was bought by the national chain Sheraton, which changed the name to Wardell Sheraton in 1943. Around this time, Sheraton had a popular hotel in New York called the Park Sheraton, so, looking to capitalize on that name, the Wardell’s name was changed in December 1951 to the Park Sheraton.

This name game is worth mentioning because it likely explains how the building came to be known as the Park Shelton. Just nine months after becoming the Park Sheraton, it was sold yet again, this time to New Yorker Louis Schleiffer. Unable to use “Sheraton,” it is assumed Schleiffer chose “Shelton,” because it sounded similar. This time, the name stuck.

In 1967, the Shelton was turned back into apartments and then into condos in 2004.