The Scarab Club, photos 1979
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Scarab Club
217Farnsworth, Detroit - Wayne County
Other Names Scarab Club of Detroit
Scarab Club-Local
Property Type art gallery
Historic Use SOCIAL
Current Use SOCIAL
Style Renaissance
Architect/Builder Lancelot Sukert
Significant Person Robert Hopkin
Narrative Description The Scarab Club is a brick, rectangular, flat-roofed, three-story structure with a high basement. The facade is a severely restrained, asymmetrical, abstract composition executed entirely in reddish brick laid in ornamental contrasting patterns. The first level contains only a recessed doorway and a band of brick laid in a chevron pattern indicating the level of the raised first floor. The upper part of the first story is accented by a band of nine, small, square, grilled panels. At the second and third stories, three large tri-partite, leaded glass windows with gauged brickwork mullions are inset between brick piers with terra cotta tile caps. At the roof line is a false, parapet roof. The most distinctive feature of the facade is the club's insignia, a large ceramic scarab medallion at the third floor level executed at the locally famous Pewabic Pottery. A large sheet copper sculpture adorns the west wall of the building.
Statement of Significance The Scarab Club is significant for its historical role in the art community of Detroit and for its unique architectural qualities. The club constructed its building in 1928. The structure was designed specifically to accommodate the functions of the artists' society that it still houses. The Scarab Club organized circa 1909 as the Hopkin Club honoring the artist Robert Hopkin. Soon after organization, the club became increasingly important to the artistic life of the city. The club sponsored the first Michigan Artists Exhibition in 1911 and continued to do so until 1928. Since 1928 the club has been the scene of art exhibitions, the Scarab Ball, and other important social events. Aesthetically, the building is an interesting reflection of the severe, brick, Renaissance Revival architecture popular in northern Europe during the first decades of the 20th Century. It is unique in Detroit.
Marker Name Scarab Club
Marker Text SCARAB CLUB Founded in 1907, the Scarab Club is one of Michigan's oldest arts organizations. Originally called the Hopkin Club after Detroit marine painter Robert Hopkin, it was renamed in 1913. The scarab, an Egyptian symbol of rebirth, represents the club's commitment to the perpetual renewal of the arts in Detroit. Lancelot Sukert of Detroit designed the clubhouse, which opened on October 5, 1928. The exterior exhibits a Northern Renaissance Revival influence and features the club logo in Pewabic tile. The interior, which houses studios, galleries and classrooms, reflects the Arts and Crafts style. The lounge ceiling beams bear autographs of prominent artists including John Sloan, Diego Rivera, Marcel Duchamp and Norman Rockwell.
Period of Significance 1901-1930
Significant Date(s) 1928
Registry Type(s) 12/14/1998 Marker erected
11/20/1979 National Register listed
07/26/1974 State Register listed
Site ID# P4487