Historic Detroit

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

Campau Realty Co. Building

The building at 2030 Park is significant in that it represents two of Detroit's prominent early- century commercial businesses, the A. M. Campau Realty Company and the Edson & Moore wholesale goods house. The A.M. Campau Realty Company represented one of Detroit's oldest families. As Clarence Burton put it, the name Campau was "inseparably interwoven with the history of Detroit...." Three members of the Campau family were affiliated with this realty firm: Charlotte Campau Copland, president; M. Woolsey Campau, vice-president, and A. Macomb Campau, secretary and treasurer. Prior to being located on Park Avenue the firm was located at 1412 MacDougall.

By 1925-26, the firm had moved onto Park Avenue in the Wormer & Moore Building, and then in 1931-32 it moved to the building at 2030 Park Avenue, although at its Elizabeth Street address.

In 1925-26, the vice president of the firm became Gaylord Gillis, who was chairman of the board of the Edson & Moore wholesale dry goods firm, which his father Ransom Gillis had participated in organizing in 1872. Gaylord Gillis was also the first treasurer of the Park Avenue Association, which promoted the development of Park Avenue during the early 1920s boom years.

The permit for 2030 Park Avenue was #10894 and was issued on September 9, 1920. The building at 2030 Park Avenue is two stories high, and has a limestone masonry exterior. Numerous changes have been made to the street level façade, and it has recently been redone for its rebirth as the location of Cliff Bell's restaurant, one of the most elegant and elite in the city from 1935 to the early 1970s.

It was initially planned by Albert Kahn as an 11-story building with nine stories to be added at a later point. The current owners of the building would like to complete the unbuilt additional nine stories but the cost might be prohibitive.

The interior of Cliff Bell's demonstrates the beautiful design work by Charles N. Agree.

Last updated 08/04/2023