Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Detroit Club

In 1882, James V. Campbell, a banker and broker, and Samuel T. Douglas, a Detroit attorney, founded the Detroit Club in a rented location on Lafayette Street. Both men wanted a place where businessmen could come to fraternize and discuss business. The by-laws stated: “The purpose of this association is to promote social intercourse among its members and provide for them the convenience of a club house for their intellectual and liberal culture.”

Ten local businessmen were founding members of the private social club. There was an initiation fee of $50 and annual dues of $25. The recruitment of 100 more businessmen included the founder of the Michigan Telephone Company, Hugh McMillan, and a former Michigan governor, Russell A. Alger.

The following year, the club relocated to a larger building on Fort Street. In 1891, the club constructed its own building at 712 Cass Avenue at the northeast corner of Fort. The building, a four-story brick and brownstone Romanesque Revival, was designed by Philadelphia architect Wilson Eyre. Over the years, the club had many famous visitors, including Franklin Roosevelt, Charles Lindbergh, and John D. Rockefeller.

The 1950s marked an all-time high for membership of the club at 1,000. The club closed in 2013 when it was sold to private investors. Fully renovated, the Detroit Club reopened in 2017 with a basement spa, ballroom, hotel suites and a dining room open to the public. A closed-off corridor on the third floor, that once connected to the former Detroit Free Press building, is now a cigar bar.



Postcard showing the Detroit Club

Photo of the Detroit Club

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