Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Penobscot Building

This 47 story landmark situated in the heart of Detroit’s downtown commercial district was designed by architect Wirt C. Rowland. Constructed with limestone and granite at its base, the Penobscot Building has stood the test of time. It was completed in 1928, during Detroit’s boom time, and at that time was the eighth tallest building in the world.

Decorative pavers lead pedestrians to the building’s imposing four-story entrance archway on Griswold Street. Sweeping bronze and glass revolving doors open to the impressive lobby. The building’s one-of-a-kind decorative friezes and carvings have been carefully preserved. Many of these museum-quality decorations, sculptured in granite, recall the Penobscot Indians for whom the structure is named.

Inside the Penobscot Building sits one of Detroit’s premier restaurants, the Caucus Club. Although the Caucus Club has never been a private club, until 1971 The Caucus Club, like many other downtown spots, was a dining spot available only to men.  Luckily women broke that barrier, because the Caucus Club has been owned by a woman since 1993.

The Penobscot was Detroit’s tallest structure until the Renaissance Center took that title in 1977.



Photo of the Penobscot Building, 1937 - 2009.019.129

The Penobscot Building, 1970 - 2012.044.149

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