The Michigan Stove, photo submitted 1998.
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The Michigan Stove
State Fairgrounds, near Woodward Avenue, Detroit - Wayne County
Other Names The Great Stove
The Garland Stove
The Detroit Stove
Property Type exhibition building
Narrative Description The Michigan Stove was originally constructed in 1892 by the Michigan Stove Company for the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. It was made of hand carved oak, measuring about twenty-five feet high, thirty feet long, twenty feet wide, and weighing about fifteen tons. The wood was painted to look like a nickel trimmed, cast iron range of the day. The exterior is supported by wood trusses on each of its four sides. The trusses are supported by four sloping, steel legs measuring six inches by six inches. Roof rafters span the short direction, and the ceiling underneath is an oval shaped dome made of ten pie-shaped sections of thin wood pieces, laminated diagonally, and covered with canvas. The wood sides are laminated heartwood redwood, and the legs are white pine. Both are carved to form the exterior detail of the stove. The laminated ceiling is hardwood, probably basswood or gum. By 1974, the stove was in a state of advanced deterioration, and was dismantled and stored away until 1998 when it was restored to its original appearance.
Statement of Significance By the mid-1800s, Detroit had become a center of the stove manufacturing industry, and after 1880 the city was recognized as the stove capital of the country. It was for this reason that the Great Stove was built in 1892, to represent Detroit and the state of Michigan at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Construction of the stove was supervised by George H. Barbour, then vice-president of the Michigan Stove Company. The stove was a monumental scale replica of a cast iron kitchen range manufactured by the company and bearing the trade name "Garland." After the Exposition, the stove was dismantled, shipped back to Detroit, and re-erected in front of the factory of the Michigan Stove Company. In 1927 the stove was moved to a new location on East Jefferson Avenue near the Belle Isle Bridge. In 1955 the Welbilt Corporation, the successor to the Michigan Stove Company, went out of business, and in 1957 the stove was leased by the Schafer Bakeries to serve as a unique advertising icon. In 1965, the stove was donated to the city of Detroit and was moved to the Michigan State Fairgrounds. In 1974, due to its poor condition, the stove was dismantled and moved to storage at the Detroit Historical Museum, which saved all of the parts. In 1998 it was restored and returned to its former location at the fairgrounds.
Marker Name The Michigan Stove/The Michigan Stove and the State Fair
Marker Text THE MICHIGAN STOVE At the close of the nineteenth century Detroit was "The Stove Capital of the World." As the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago approached, the Michigan Stove Company, founded by Jeremiah Dwyer in 1872, decided to build a "Mammoth Garland" stove for its exhibit in the Manufacturers and Liberal Arts Building. Michigan Stove vice president George H. Barbour, who also served on the fair's national board, sponsored the project. Designed by William J. Keep, the wooden structure weighed 15 tons and measured 25 feet high, 30 feet long and 20 feet wide. A colossal exhibit, it stood on a platform with real stoves beneath. After the exposition, the stove was reassembled beside the Michigan Stove factory at Adair and East Jefferson in Detroit. THE MICHIGAN STOVE AND THE STATE FAIR The Michigan Stove Company and the Detroit Stove Works merged to become the Detroit-Michigan Stove Company in 1925. Soon after, they moved Detroit's giant stove to 6900 East Jefferson Avenue, just west of the Belle Isle Bridge. There it stood until 1965, when it made its first appearance on the Michigan State Fairgrounds. The decaying stove was dismantled and placed in storage in 1974. In 1998, Michigan State Fair management rallied corporations, labor unions, and individuals to put this unique Detroit landmark back together. The carefully restored symbol of nineteenth-century Detroit industry was unveiled on the eve of the grand opening of the 150th Michigan State Fair, August 24, 1998.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1893, 1927, 1974
Registry Type(s) 08/24/1998 Marker erected
06/18/1998 State Register listed
Site ID# P28385