Cadillac Square

Old City Hall

In the past we’ve mentioned Detroit’s original City Hall, which stood in what is now Cadillac Square. Prior to 1885, Cadillac Square was a street known as Michigan Grand Avenue, part of Augustus Woodward’s plan for rebuilding Detroit following the 1805 fire. In 1835, a section of this broad avenue was chosen as the site for Detroit’s first City Hall. This City Hall was a multipurpose building of sorts. The spot on Michigan Grand was conceived to contain both the City Hall as well as the Central Market, and as such the lower floor of the new building housed meat vendors. City officials could be found on the second floor, but so could theatrical performances and religious services. When the newer City Hall was dedicated in 1871 directly across Campus Martius, its smaller predecessor was briefly slated to become a library. Alas, it was decided it would be more cost effective to build a new library rather than convert the old city hall, and it was torn down in 1872.

Central Market Building

The matter of funding a replacement building for Central Market became a reoccurring issue through much of the 1870s. It took until 1879 for a plan to be approved. This new Central Market Building was, again, a multipurpose building, containing the Board of Health, the Poor Commission, and Park Commission, in addition to vendors. Despite surviving a battle in the Michigan Supreme Court against property owners along Michigan Grand who were upset with the blocking of a major road, the Central Market Building only stood until 1889. It was the growth of Eastern and Western Markets that led the Common Council to deem the Central Market unnecessary. With such a short career it’s no surprise that this structure is relatively unknown.

One thought on “Cadillac Square

  1. I remember the beautiful City Hall Building. It was one of many architectural treasures that were torn down. I’m so sry it, along with the others, are no longer here for our children and grandchildren to enjoy!

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