Monroe Avenue Commercial Buildings, photo taken 1974
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Monroe Avenue Commercial Buildings (Partially demolished, February 1990)
16-118 Monroe Avenue, Detroit - Wayne County
Property Type commercial district
Historic Use COMMERCE/TRADE
Current Use COMMERCE/TRADE
Style Italian Renaissance
Modern Movement
Architect/Builder Albert Kahn
Narrative Description The Monroe Avenue Commercial District is comprises of approximately thirteen commercial block and theater buildings ranging in scale from two-to five-stories in height. Most structures have flat roofs and walls of stone decorated with cast-iron trim, tile, or ornamental brickwork. Italian Renaissance details are found on many of the structures. The Modernistic National Theater is outstanding in the district, with stunning twin terra cotta latticework towers, recessed round-arch art glass windows, and polychrome Pewabic tiles decorating the facade. Several buildings in the district are converted theaters currently occupied by small businesses.
Statement of Significance The Monroe Avenue Commercial District contains Detroit's few remaining pre-Civil War and Victorian commercial blocks. Most of the buildings in the district were constructed between 1852 and 1872 by noted local architects Sheldon and Mortimer Smith and others. One of Detroit's premier architects, Albert Kahn, (with Ernest Wilby) designed the National Theater in 1911 which helped to make the district a major theater and commercial area. Partially demolished in 1990, the district is heavily altered. Several buildings have undergone ground-floor refacing and other changes. Many relatively intact structures, however, serve as a significant architectural record of the city's commercial growth.
Period of Significance 1901-1930
Significant Date(s) 1911, 1990
Registry Type(s) 02/13/1975 National Register listed
12/18/1974 State Register listed
Site ID# P25183