When you spot enough construction material on pallets that it blocks half the road, something’s going on.

And in fact, something is. The historic State Savings Bank at Fort and Shelby in downtown Detroit is getting a new roof, Daily Detroit confirmed with Bedrock Real Estate today.

Purchased in 2014 by Dan Gilbert (there’s more historical background on the link), the building is one of the few left in our city that was built at the turn of the century (1900, to be exact, with an addition in 1914).

Insulation on Shelby street for the new roof. Daily Detroit photo.
Insulation on Shelby street for the new roof. Daily Detroit photo, September 2016.

The three-story, neoclassical in design and marble-clad building had fallen on hard times, sitting vacant for a few years after a series of failed retail ventures and nonprofits moved out. The last bank to do business there was in 1977. However, it still retains many of the details that make it special.

The State Savings Bank (Daily Detroit Photo)
The State Savings Bank (Daily Detroit Photo, 2014)

The previous owners attempted to gut the building for a 1,000-plus vehicle parking structure, but public pressure, and the historic status of the building resulted in a denial by the city’s Historic District Commission. Soon after, Gilbert bought it.

The place is a beauty. Here are 14 more photos of the building back near when it opened.

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The board and meeting rooms upstairs were well appointed.

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There was no online banking, so banks had to exude trust and respect, and they did that in part through their architecture.

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Detroit was very different at the turn of the century. To the left now stands the Penobscot building directly adjacent.


Here’s a little closer to the front door.


All photos via the Library of Congress national archive. 

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