Historic Detroit

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

Elliott Building

The Elliott Building was built on the northwest corner of Grand River and Woodward avenues in 1894 at the cost of about $80,000. It was designed by the firm Wilson Brothers.

The six-story building is located on the site of the home of Detroit’s first mayor, General John R. Williams (John R. Street was named in his honor).

Huge, round-arched windows on the sixth floor give this six story, red brick and red terra cotta building its distinctive character. Its location on the corner of Grand River and Woodward results in two visible facades.

On the Woodward facade, the double-hung sash windows are arranged in three bays containing three ribbon windows in each. Each pier terminates just below the arched windows at the sixth floor, and they rise as pilasters with three terra cotta stars in each capital. Centered in the span between each arch is a rosette encircled in terra cotta.

Above the sixth floor is a frieze of a double Greek key design, broken by square window vents in the attic level. The Grand River facade has five bays of windows with exactly the same arrangement and decorative detailing as the Woodward facade. Elaborate terra cotta crests overlap the sixth-story corners on Woodward and Grand River and at the corner of Grand River and the alley. The terra cotta crests contain the scripted initial W (William Elliott) and 1894 (the year of construction).

The building served as the locale of the William H. Elliott Dry Goods Store which provided carpets, draperies, and children’s clothing until 1909. The Kresge Co. renovated the first two floors in 1931, replacing the brick with limestone of classical modernistic (or Greco Deco) detailing. In 1939, the store had a "modernization" that reconstructed a corner entrance flanked by gleaming curved windows. On the inside, an elevator was installed, as well as new floors, counters, air conditioning and lighting. At a later date, the cornice was removed and a brick parapet was added.

From the late teens through the 1960s, Kresge's operated in the building as a "25 cent to $1" store, just a block away from Kresge's Store #1 (a 5- and 10-cent store) at 1201 Woodward. After several other tenants, the first floor of this building was used for the Eastern Wigs and a beauty supply shop until September 1997.

Today, it is owned by Michael Higgins' Elliott Building LLC, and features loft-style apartments along with ground floor and lower level retail space. Bedrock manages the retail space.

The Elliot Building is a contributing building in the Lower Woodward Historic District, which also includes the Kresge Building, the Traver Building, the Fowler Building, the Heyn's Department Store Building, the Bedell Building, the Valpey Building, the Frank & Seder Building, the Frank & Seder Co. Building (Albert's), the Woodward Building, the Richman Brothers Co. Store Building, the Grinnell Brothers Music House, the Fisher Arcade, the Himelhoch's Building, the David Whitney Building, the Broderick Tower, the Telenews Theater, the United Foundation Building, the Lane Bryant Building, the A&M Coney Island Building, the Wright-Kay Building, the Kaiser-Blair Building, the Ferguson Building, the D.J. Healy Co. Building, the Beck Building, the Singer Building and the Rayl Building.

Last updated 19/03/2023