Historic Detroit

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

Father Dowling Hall

Dowling Hall opened with the new school year on Sept. 1, 1890, as part of the campus of Detroit College, now known as the University of Detroit Mercy. Back in the day, tuition would set you back a whopping $40, about a grand today, when adjusted for inflation.

The college was founded by the Jesuits in 1877 and incorporated in 1881.

This handsome structure, located at East Jefferson Avenue and the Chrysler Service Drive, was designed by architect Gordon W. Lloyd and named in honor of the Rev. Michael P. Dowling, the college’s fourth president, who was in charge at the time the building was erected.

In 1911, the college became the University of Detroit, and moved most of its programs to a larger campus on Livernois at McNichols Road in 1927.

In 1977, a modern addition was tacked onto the back by Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, and the interior was updated.

In 1990, the University of Detroit and Mercy College of Detroit merged to become the University of Detroit Mercy.

Today, the building is the home of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, which moved here in 1952.

Last updated 01/05/2023