Historic Detroit

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

Salvation Army Citadel

This building was the Salvation Army's main base of operations in Detroit for nearly 60 years.

This castle-like building on Michigan Avenue at Second Street was the first structure the Salvation Army built in Detroit, and was designed by Harry W. Chamberlin. It was announced in 1904, and its cornerstone was placed July 6, 1905. The building, which cost about $30,000 to erect, was dedicated April 7, 1906.

The entrance was on Michigan Avenue. The building's auditorium was located on the main floor and seated 700 to 800 people. There also was a dispensary where the poor could get treatment and medicine at no cost. The top floor was home to the executive offices for the Michigan and Indiana divisions of the Salvation Army. The structure also housed the Detroit Citadel Church and a women's hostel, as well as apartments for officers.

The building suffered fires in 1927 and 1941, but was repaired.

In 1939, the Citadel Church and Divisional Headquarters moved to a new, 32,000-square-foot Art Deco-styled building at 601 Bagley (purchased by DTE Energy in 2012 and rehabbed renamed the Navitas House - Navitas being Latin for "energy" - in 2014). This new, Art Deco-styled building was designed by architect Albert C. Fehlow, who did a number of Salvation Army buildings around the Midwest.

The Salvation Army's old home on Michigan Avenue was then utilized as the Detroit Bowery Corps church, and was renamed in 1961 as the Harbor Light Center, offering assistance to those suffering from homelessness and substance abuse.

In 1957, the Salvation Army took over the Park Avenue Hotel and began running it as the Eventide Residence, a senior housing complex. In 1961, the organization moved the Harbor Light Center's operations to the former Park Avenue Hotel, and closed the building on Michigan Avenue.

It is unclear when the building was demolished, but there is a parking garage on the site now.