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In a city with an embarrassment of architectural riches, sometimes a jewel can get overlooked or taken for granted. Detroit’s second-oldest skyscraper was designed by a renowned American master, once held the title of tallest building in the city, helped save downtown’s central business district and is a lovingly restored link to an era before the Motor City was the Motor City.The 18-story Ford Building opened on the northwestern corner of Griswold and Congress streets in 1908.
“There had been a resignation to the feeling that to other streets would go the business and professional men. Below Congress the street was not very lively at any time and early in the evening it was almost as quiet as a deserted village,” the Free Press wrote.
At that point, the land was given by the federal government to the city, which sold it to developers.
John Mullett planned a subdivision on the site, building two-story stone, brick and frame houses on the land in 1827.
It was built as the headquarters for the Edward Ford Plate Glass Co. 11, 1899, had a factory on the east bank of the Maumee River in Rossford, Ohio.
It was one of the three leading glass-making firms by the following year.
It also had a vacuum cleaning system “so that flying dust in the office suites will be an unknown quality,” the Free Press said.