Where “Ma Bell” Lived

H. W. Miller prepared this summary sheet for the Walnut Exchange which was valued at $36,558.36.

When Albert Kahn’s architectural firm wasn’t designing some of Detroit’s most recognizable landmarks (e.g. Fisher Building, Belle Isle Conservatory), they did things like appraise buildings of the Michigan Bell Telephone Company. A compendium of this useful information was assembled in 1925, with high quality photographs and comprehensive summary sheets for fifteen properties. Today this reference tool is a valuable when comparing the historic built environment at each site to what we find in the community today. Some buildings were modified for continued use, some have been replaced by newer structures, and some have been left abandoned or vanished on the site of an empty lot.

To see more material from Michigan Bell, visit our online digital collections.




Glendale Exchange on the northeast corner of Gibson and Noble Sts., built in 1899 with a 1910 addition. No longer extant, this image exemplifies the amount of architectural detail that was employed on even the smallest buildings.

Walnut Exchange on the northwest corner of Grand River Ave. and Stanley St., built in 1909 with a 1915 addition. Today the abandoned building serves as a canvas for street art while awaiting redevelopment.











Hemlock Exchange on the southeast corner of Glendale St. and 2nd Ave. in Highland Park, built in 1910 with a 1917 addition. Today almost unrecognizable as the Royal
Nursing Center.

Main Exchange on the northeast corner of Clifford St. and Washington Blvd., built in 1891 with a 1907 addition. Today heavily modified as the Claridge House Apartments.








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