Historic Detroit

Every building in Detroit has a story — we're here to share it

Belle Isle Police Station

The Belle Isle Police Station was designed by the firm Mason & Rice and opened in early 1893, making it the second-oldest building on the island, behind the White House.

This cop shop on Inselruhe Avenue and Riverbank Drive also housed the harbormaster and was the island’s hospital. During the 1920s, the building served a key role in police efforts to crack down on rumrunners trying to sneak booze in from Canada across the Detroit River.

In 1928, for the first time anywhere, police radio operators broadcast on a dedicated frequency from here, revolutionizing the way officers are dispatched. The building is slated to become a welcome center.

Update March 2024

According to an article in "Outlier Media", Amelia Benavides-Colón, a Detroit Documenter, reported for the Detroit Free Press that the Detroit Community Sailing Center (DCSC) is in the very early stages of potentially renovating the old police station. The Grosse Pointe Park-based community nonprofit provides sailing education and docks its boats at the Belle Isle Boat House, which has been in a steady state of decline. The center partnered with the University of Michigan to identify alternative locations, and the police station, now operated by the DNR, is on the list.