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Detroit's Castle Building Threw a Party Last Friday

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Photos by Nick Hagen.

Party like it's 1898! Yes, that is the year the the Grand Army of the Republic Building was completed in Detroit and, last Friday, we got a tour of what they say was "a frat house for civil war veterans." What in the world did they play flip cup with back then? (The Solo Cup Company was not founded until 1936). Like all frat houses, the place could still use a good cleaning. But never fear! The building is set to be completed in November of 2013, so these are just the in-progress shots. The party raised money for the Michigan Historic Preservation Network.

As this was Curbed's second trip to the building this year, not a ton has changed to the interior. That is because the owners, the firm Mindfield (currently based in the Library Lofts) has been focused on exterior improvements. With 130 windows in 11 different shapes and sizes, replacements have taken up some time. But they are no stranger to waiting.

It took the firm five years to negotiate the purchase of the building and, at the time the sale closed, they had only seen it with plywood on the windows. Needless to say, they did not know entirely what they were getting at the time. The worst surprise was water damage in the turrets, but there were good surprises as well. One of the better ones was a three by five foot marble plaque.

Others were just a little gross. The row of lockers on the second floor had once been a pigeon nesting ground and came complete with some dead birds. But personal favorite feature would have to be the crazy layers of peeling paint, which ultimately have to go. The walls will be scraped down and re-mudded.

So with a whole year before the big reveal at the opening, you've got plenty of time to get excited about new restaurants. Yep, Mindfield is now saying that there will be two of them! They'd also like to include a museum. The second and third floors will be offices and Mindfield's own offices will be in the fourth and fifth floors.

· Updates From Inside of the Castle: Detroit's GAR Building Progresses [Curbed Detroit]
· Previous Posts on the GAR Building [Curbed Detroit]
·Michigan Historic Preservation Network [Official]