Historic Detroit

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

United Savings Bank Building

The building is located in the Capitol Park Historic District on the west side of Griswold between State Street and Michigan Avenue and was constructed under permit #18302 issued to architect Albert Kahn on May 9, 1921, for the United Savings Bank of Detroit. Construction costs were estimated to be $150,000.

It is also a contributing building listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the Capitol Park Historic District.

The United Savings Bank of Detroit was established in 1902 by Frank Bruce Leland. Originally from Rose, Mich., Leland had practiced law in Flint, Mich., and Detroit from 1885 until 1895.

In 1895, he became general manager of the National Loan and Investment Company. Leland was also president of the United Savings Bank of Detroit. The bank dealt strictly with savings accounts and was the first in Detroit to establish banking by mail.

Original blueprints display a richly decorated Classical Revival facade dominated on the first story by three arched openings, the center one containing the double-doored entrance to 1133 Griswold, and, in the northernmost bay, a rectangular opening providing a double-doored entrance into 1139 Griswold.

Ornate architrave moldings, carved and tooled stone surfaces, and decorative grilles once enlivened the ground floor. A regular pattern of rectangular windows prevailed throughout the rest of the front facade, ornamented with paterae and decorative moldings, and capped by a decorative cornice.

During the United Savings Bank's proprietorship of the structure, minor alterations to the interior and exterior were made. First floor windows were first altered in 1942. Seven years later, the entrance doors, partitions, and lobby were altered.

In 1971, the Detroit and Northern Savings and Loan Association purchased the building and proceeded to drastically change both the interior and exterior. The historic limestone façade was stripped down, a steel grid anchored through the façade to the building frame and a field of granite panels was anchored to the grid. The remaining windows flanking the granite façade were covered with tightly space aluminum fins.

While the banking hall at the ground floor had double height space along tall storefront windows, the resulting dark office interiors above were daylit by diffused light through the alley windows.

Update September 2023: As part of the adaptive reuse project linking 1133 Griswold to the Capitol Park Lofts, the pink granite panels that form a façade on the 1133 Griswold building are currently being removed. According to a report by the Kramer Design Group, the building will receive a four-story addition which will add three floors and make it an 11-story building. A new façade closely resembling the original will then be reconstructed.

Last updated 16/09/2023