Historic Detroit

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

Fisher Body 21

Brief history

The Fisher Body Company was founded by brothers Frederick and Charles Fisher and incorporated on July 22, 1908.

Initially, Fisher Body, which later enlisted the other five Fisher brothers (William, Lawrence, Edward, Alfred and Howard), manufactured bodies for a diverse array of automakers, at least in its early years.

In 1914, the Fisher Body Company has evolved into the world's leading auto-body manufacturer, having produced an impressive 370,000 car bodies for clients such as Ford, Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet and Packard.

By 1919, the majority of Fisher Body was owned by General Motors, and by 1926, GM assumed complete ownership, employing it as its internal body-making division.

The Building

The structure on the Northwest corner of I-75 & I-94 was designed by the Detroit architectural firm Smith, Hinchman & Grylls (commonly mis-attributed to Albert Kahn, who was the architect of the iconic Fisher Building) and opened in 1919 as the 21st production plant of the Fisher brothers. Initially, the facility manufactured automobile bodies for Cadillacs and Buicks, and later it was utilized by General Motors until 1984.

Subsequently, the ownership and operation of the building were taken over by Cameo Color Coat. In 1990, ownership of the industrial paint operations was transferred to Carter Color Coat. Unfortunately, Carter Color Coat declared bankruptcy and abandoned the building in 1993. It has been sitting empty since then.

The city of Detroit took ownership of the property in 2000 and announced in March 2022 that it would be transformed into more than 400 apartments plus retail space under a redevelopment plan unveiled by developers and city officials.

This currently still post-apocalyptic looking structure is a great reminder of Detroit's automotive and architectural history, and its subsequent decline, in contrast to the amazing renaissance the city has been experiencing for a while. Work at the site started in late 2023.

More on this building coming soon.

Here's a list of properties which at one point all related to the Fisher Family. They can also be found on Historic Detroit:

Fisher Body 21

Fisher Body 37

Alfred J. Fisher Mansion

Charles T. Fisher Mansion

Edward F. Fisher Mansion

Frederick J. Fisher Mansion

Lawrence P. Fisher Mansion

William A. Fisher Mansion

Howard A. Fisher Home

Margaret T. Fisher Mansion

Margaret T. Fisher Home

William A. Fisher House

Fisher Building

YMCA (Fisher Branch)

Fisher Administration Center)