Historic Detroit

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

Bennett Building

No permit has been found for the construction of this five-story solid masonry commercial structure on the southeast corner of Griswold and West Grand River Avenue. It first appears in the 1895 City Directory as the Bennett Building. Some historic building preservationists call it “the most renovated building in downtown Detroit”.

On May 13, 1895, Detroit businessmen from the middle and upper classes formed the social organization they called the Supreme Division of the Loyal Guard. The Pingree Division, No. 35, met every second and fourth Monday of each month in the Loyal Guard Hall at 1218 Griswold. In 1900, the Supreme Division of the Loyal Guard purchased the property from Edgar K. Bennett. Between 1902 and 1903, the Loyal Guard remodeled the structure for meetings and commercial activities.

In 1911, the Supreme Division of the Loyal Guard sold the building to the Kern brothers, owners of the eponymous department store, who leased space to a number of retail stores and medical offices. From the early 1910s until after 1930, J.D. Mabley operated a clothing store at 17-19 Grand River, and the M.J. Baker Clothing Store was in the structure in 1932-33. From at least 1934 until 1940, Fintex operated a men and boy's retail clothing store in the building.

The First Church of Christ Scientist rented the space in the early 1950s and purchased the structure from the Kern Realty Corp. in 1970.

In 1932, the store entrances were altered. The front store entrance was changed from the middle of the first floor to the corner of the building. Also, significant interior alterations occurred when the store space was remodeled into a Christian Science reading room in 1955. In 1972, all but one window on each of the third to fifth floors were filled with masonry.

The building was bought by Bedrock in 2014 and renovated by architecture firm Kraemer Design Group in 2017, resulting in offices and street-level restaurant and retail space.

Last updated 17/11/2023