Historic Detroit

Pasadena Apartments

The Pasadena was Detroit’s first high-rise apartment building and helped make apartment living fashionable in the city.

Indeed, there was so much excitement about the place in late 1904 that tenants started moving in before the building was even finished.

In January 1905, the Pasadena was behind schedule, when its owners offered “an entirely new departure in the finishing of the top five stories of the building, on which work is about to commence,” the Detroit Free Press wrote: Tenants were given a say in the layout and finishing of their suites.

The 11-story building on East Jefferson Avenue at Dubois Street offered rooftop dining with breathtaking views and unlimited electricity for tenants.

It was designed by Fred L. Smith of the firm Mortimer L. Smith & Son. He would go on to co-found the Detroit architectural powerhouse Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, which lives on under the name SmithGroupJJR.

Today, the Pasadena is home to 170 apartments.