Historic Detroit

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

Frank & Seder Building

Frank & Seder, a departmentalized specialty store for men and women's clothing headquartered in Pittsburgh, replaced a three-story brick building, known as the Golden Building, at this site. The Frank & Seder store simultaneously occupied the Valpey Building to the south (1413 Woodward) and the building to the north (1437 Woodward).

Frank & Seder's horizontal signage on the three combined buildings stated: Everything Ready To Wear, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh. This eight-story white glazed terra cotta building was constructed of reinforced concrete at a cost of $375,000. The fenestration is deeply inset, and, in the wall surfaces, terra cotta tiles hang like cut stone bricks in alternating courses. The building is arranged in three bays containing three windows in each.

The original six- over-six paned casement windows are still in place on the upper six floors. Adamesque detailing embellishes the two mullions between each set of windows. Above the seventh story, a string course is interrupted at the center by two crests surrounded by swags. At the eighth floor the mullions and pier walls between window bays are decorated in classical floral motifs.

Between the two crests containing fleur de lis is a plaque with the year of construction, AA. D 1921". A painted sign on the northern wall of the building still exists for Frank and Seder. The beautifully detailed bracketed cornice is intact. The building received relatively minor second floor facade alterations when three separate storefronts were created.

An article from April 1950 indicated that the Seyburn family owned the building for several generations and had recently sold it to New York investors. In 1951, three separate storefronts were created on the ground level. New tenants through the 1950's were Vanity Fair and Holiday Shoe Store; many others followed.

The Frank & Seder 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 Elliot Building, the Valpey 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 16/04/2023