Guardian Building
The Guardian Building is a skyscraper in downtown Detroit, Michigan. Today, the building is owned by Wayne County, Michigan and serves as its headquarters. Built in 1928 and finished in 1929, the building was originally called the Union Trust Building and is a bold example of Art Deco architecture, including art moderne designs. At the top of the Guardian Building's spire is a large American Flag, complementing the four smaller flags atop nearby 150 West Jefferson. The building has undergone recent award-winning renovations. It was designated a National Historic Landmark on June 29, 1989, and it is part of the Detroit Financial District.

The main frame of the skyscraper rises 36 stories, capped by two asymmetric spires, one extending for four additional stories. The roof height of the building is 496 ft (151 m), the top floor is 489 feet (149 m), and the spire reaches 632 ft (192.6 m). The exterior blends brickwork with tile, limestone, and terra cotta. The building's interior is lavishly decorated with mosaic and Pewabic and Rookwood tile. The semi-circular exterior domes are filled with Pewabic Pottery; Mary Chase Perry Stratton worked closely with the architect in the design of the symbolic decorations. ( See Savage, infra.) Its nickname, Cathedral of Finance, alludes both to the building's resemblance to a cathedral, with its tower over the main entrance and octagonal apse at the opposite end and to New York City's Woolworth Building, which had earlier been dubbed the Cathedral of Commerce. Native American themes are common inside and outside the building. Wirt C. Rowland, of the Smith Hinchman & Grylls firm, was the building's architect while Corrado Parducci created the two sculptures flanking the Griswold Street entrance. The building includes works by muralist Ezra Winter. Rowland's attention to detail was meticulous. He supervised the creation of bricks to achieve the desired color for the exterior and designed furniture for the bank's offices. His attention went as far as designing tableware, linens and waitress uniforms for a restaurant in the building.

Col. Frank Hecker and Michigan Senator James McMillan were both founders of the Union Trust which built the Guardian, nicknamed the Cathedral of Finance. During World War II, the Guardian Building served as the U.S Army Command Center for war time production with Detroit being called the Arsenal of Democracy . The Guardian served various tenants as an office building in downtown and was restored in 1986. On July 18, 2007, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano announced it has entered into an agreement with current owners to purchase the Guardian Building to relocate its offices from the Wayne County Building. The deal is reportedly part of a larger deal worth $33.5 million in real estate purchases in downtown Detroit. The Guardian Building has become a souvenir item along with other Detroit skyscrapers.


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