Belle Isle Casino

Casino on Belle Isle

Belle Isle just east of the James Scott Fountain toward the western end of the Island


This is not one of Detroit's gambling casinos. When Belle Isle was developed into one of the nation's most attractive urban parks, a Queen Anne-style casino building was erected in 1887. This appealing, gabled wood structure was designed by John Donaldson and Henry Meier. Similar to quite a few of the city's nineteenth century buildings, it was razed by fire.

Albert Kahn designed the Casino that replaced the previous one. He designed it to provide views of the Detroit River and Canada, and to be an eating-place where patrons would be cooled by breezes in the era long before air conditioning. The style likely reflects architectural ideas flowing from Kahn's trip to Italy since it is a Renaissance Revival Building constructed from brick with a terra cotta roof. Note the two-story arcaded veranda with its graceful and soothing arches. And then there are the two impressive and high decorated square towers that Kahn designed for the Detroit side of this Casino.

Architects: Van Leyen & Schilling
Date of Completion: 1908
Style: Renaissance Revival
Photo: Ren Farley; August, 2002

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