Historic Detroit

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Penobscot Building Annex

The "New Penobscot Building" is a steel-frame twenty-four-story skyscraper faced with granite and terra cotta. It was designed by Donaldson & Meier architects and opened in 1916.

Fronting eighty feet on West Congress Street, this second phase of the Penobscot Building was constructed as the New Penobscot Building. It extends back from West Congress to meet the original Penobscot Building on West Fort Street at the alley. The West Congress and eastern (alley) façade display a Renaissance-inspired decorative scheme.

The street front is faced in gray unpolished granite in the five-story base and in light-hued terra cotta in similar coursed ashlar finish (but smaller blocks) above. The lower part of the façade contains broad triple windows, some with transoms. The side and upper front facades contain vertical banks of paired double-hung windows. A tall attic is capped with a projecting cornice with boldly oversized brackets and modillions and a dentil band.

The West Congress entrance is located between two retail spaces’ display windows and, inside, retail shops line the West Congress level entrance hallway.

The upper four stories are delineated from the others by running bands of terra cotta, blind reliefs, corbelled details and the cornice. The roof is flat. The western building façade (alley façade) is faced in yellow common brick. The western façade is divided by a light court that allows for additional corner offices and greater ventilation. The building still retains its original wood double hung windows.

The Penobscot Annex (or New Penobscot Building) , is the second of the three Penobscots.

The Penobscots were the legacy of lumberman Simon J. Murphy, who named it after his beloved Penobscot River in Maine, and his family.

The Detroit Stock Exchange was among the early tenants in this tower.

Make sure to check the Penobscot Building, and the Penobscot Building (first), for more information on the entire Penobscot complex.

Last updated 27/03/2023