This building deserves mention in the history of retail trade in the United States. The structure pictured above was constructed in 1894 by William Elliott, a Detroit entrepreneur and developer. Five years later, the first S. S Kresge five and dime store opened on the ground level at the corner of Woodward and Grand River. All of this nation's thousands of dollar stores and the numerous K-Marts stores that dot the nation's landscape have a distant ancestor in the modest bargain store that Mr. Kresge opened at this location in the last full year of President McKinley's administration.
I have read that this structure was designed by Albert Kahn, but it was completed six years before the turn of the last century. In the early 1890s, I believe that Mr. Kahn was a very junior architect working with George Mason.
Over the years, this building has been used for many purposes. I presume that the first floor typically housed retail stores, while the upper floors were used for storing merchandise or for residences. In February, 2006, The Woodward Grand Realty Company announced that it would convert the Elliott Building into 15 to 18 condominiums. One-half story was to be added at the roof line to allow the construction of a few penthouses overlooking Woodward Avenue. At the ground level, the space was scheduled to be converted into the modern retail style. Apparently those plans could not be financed. In May, 2008, new plans were announced. The Elliott Building and the Pepper Shoe Building next door at 1413 Woodward are to be jointly developed into 70 rental units and 10,000 square feet of retail space at the street level.
Date of Construction: 1894
Architect: Perhaps Albert Kahn and George Mason
Use in 2000: Scheduled for conversion into condominiums and retail space
Historic District: This building is one of 34 structures included in the Lower Woodward Historic District. This is a City of Detroit Designated Historic District listed December 17, 2001. The district is also listed on the National (#99000051, February 12, 1999) and the State of Michigan Historical Register (P35,409)
Photograph: Ren Farley
Date of Photograph: May 2, 2009
Date Description prepared: May, 2009