Detroit was booming in the 1920s, and hotels were one of the city's most rapidly-growing businesses. Tourists and business travelers alike were flocking to the city, and hoteliers were going heat-to-head to outdo each other. Smaller hotels built in earlier years were hastily expanded, while mammoth new projects took shape as fast as workers could build them, construction sometimes running 24 hours a day. Many were eventually demolished, but a few still remain today, awaiting renovation or destruction. Check in to this map of hotels for a taste of Detroit's glamorous accommodations of yesteryear.Read More
Mapping the Ghosts of Detroit's Most Distinguished Hotels
The Tuller was one of Detroit's legendary old hotels. Built in 1906 on what was then considered undesirable land, the hotel's eventual booming business lead to several expansions. Occupancy levels declined as the hotel became more of a boarding house, finally being demolished in 1991. It remains an Ilitch-owned parking lot today.
Pontchartrain Hotel (Original)
The original Pontch had a sadly short lifespan of only thirteen years, designed without fancy amenities (like private bathrooms) that would become standard just a few years later. It was demolished in 1920, the First National Building taking its place.
A great place to run into Detroit's famous and wealthy in the 1920s, the Wolverine Hotel was demolished in 1998 to make way for a Comerica Park surface lot.
The Park Avenue
Built in 1924, the Park Avenue Hotel was another piece of Lew Tuller's hotel empire in Detroit. It served as a homeless shelter for the Salvation Army until being abandoned in 2007.
Opening in 1915, the Statler was the king of luxury in Detroit, rising 13 stories above Grand Circus Park. Mismanagement and slowing business lead to its closure in 1975, its eventual demolition starting in 2005 to remove it in time for the Super Bowl.
The Roosevelt opened near Michigan Central Station in 1923, offering guests 250 rooms, a barbershop, a restaurant, and a drug store. It sits vacant today, though there are rumors of a renovation in the near future.
Hotel Fort Wayne
Opening in 1926 on what was then Bagg Street (it's Temple Street today), the Fort Wayne had 300 rooms and a cafe. It eventually declined, becoming the American Hotel before closing in the '90s. It sits abandoned today.
Known for its art deco architecture, Lee Plaza came online in 1929 as a luxury hotel. It housed senior citizens before closing in the early 1990s. It's currently windowless, with a badly damaged roof.
It may not look like it today, but the Eddystone was actually in business until the late '90s. One of the less successful pieces of Lew Tuller's hotel empire in Detroit, the 1924 building is slated for demolition.
The Seward opened in 1909 as "Detorit's leading Uptown hotel," but has since been stripped of its cornice and architectural detailing. After many name changes and a stint as an apartment building, the structure was abandoned in 2009 before being completely and utterly trashed. Nevertheless, it is slated for renovation sometime in the next few years.
We all know the story on Hotel Charlevoix. Built in 1905, the building was only briefly a hotel before becoming an office building. Ralph Sachs bought the building in the '80s. Sachs made little effort to maintain the building, repeatedly seeking permission to tear it down. He was finally granted a demolition permit by a judge, and the building was brought down on June 23, 2013.
The former Strathmore Hotel in Midtown is set to to undergo a $30M renovation into 129 apartments and retail space below.
Webster Hall once boasted 800 rooms, a basement swimming pool, and two coffee shops. It became a Wayne State dormitory before demolition in the mid-90s. Now it's a parking garage.
Hotel Norton was located where One Woodward Avenue now stands. Opened in 1918, the Norton was known as one of the city's better hotels before business declined in the '50s. A last-ditch attempt to modernize the hotel failed to attract new customers, and the building was demolished in 1959.
Around the turn of the century, the Madison-Lenox was two separate hotels (the Madison and the Lenox) that would later be combined into one odd-looking complex. Like many Detroit hotels, it would descend into a low-end residential building. LIke many Detroit hotels, it would face demolition by an Ilitch company for a parking lot.