Facades (p11)

Our Calumet facades tour winds down here along the 100 block of 5th street with the largest building on the block – most recently home to Re-Run Sport & Tool. This three story structure still regains much of its former glory along its front facade, due mainly to some recent rehabilitation work. The buildings store-fronts have been returned to their original look, and the inside has been fixed up nicely. Unfortunately Re-Run has since left the building, and now it stands vacant yet again. A shame for such a fine building. Lets take a closer look.

What is most interesting about this building is its irritating lack of symmetry. The building is essentially two large 3-story buildings attached together. Here you see the upper facade of the right “building”. It consists of a group of four windows; an inside window, a set of two middle windows, and an outside window. You would think that this pattern would be copied on the left “building”, but its not. While the arched window hoods are present, a series of brick pilasters (a rectangular column sticking slightly out of the buildings) run down the buildings facade between the middle windows and the outside windows. This is just plain odd. Take a look below:

Hers a look at the left “buildings” outside windows, and as you can clearly see, they are divided from the middle set of windows by a brick pilaster. Also different is the use of flower tiles down the left side of the facade, a feature missing from the right “building”. All these differences between the building’s two halves makes me think that the left side was added later. That this side of the building is original, and year later the left side was added with a slightly different (yet similar as well) facade. Perhaps the flower tiles were sold out then.


Speaking of flowers, here are some closer looks at those tiles. Flower designs were big back then.

A closer look at the arched window hoods, showing the sunburst (or sunflower?) medallion on the inside. You can see the medallion is made up of two parts. Check out the Bigger Picture here for more details.

The larger hood over the middle two windows is of a different design. More Terra Cotta tiles, some interesting brick work and a diamond shaped medallion make up this one.

This interesting design is underneath the windows on the upper floor. It also interests me how much extra details the bricklayers put into their work. It must have meant much more work for them, but they did it anyway.

A look at the cornice and frieze. In pretty good shape, except for the missing pediment with the building's name. Those things must have fell off rather easily.

This small detail on the front facade caught my attention. I had assumed that most of these buildings were simply brick or sandstone, but this would seem to suggest an iron skeleton. I guess on a tall three story structure like this the iron would be necessary. Moving on..

Next: 100 Block Potpourri…

4 comments

  1. Just moved into a second-floor apartment here. You’re correct about it originally being two separate buildings (they did a good job meshing the interior architecture, but if you look closely, you can tell), but in addition, they also added the entire third floor later on. If you view the building from the rear alleyway, you can tell where the windows and bricks don’t quite line up.

    There is also a large doorway (now boarded up) high up on the third floor facing the back where they used to hoist up upright pianos to the repair shop on that level. Surprised I haven’t found any piano wreckage in the ground below.

  2. I think the iron works label might of been referring to a iron skeleton instead of the facade work itself. Either way I wondered how much iron was in use in the area since the closest iron mill was pretty far away, transporting it here must of been costly at first. (Much in the same way as coal wasn’t used for a while)

  3. Adam from Detroit

    i wouldve guessed tin or copper…

  4. Facades.
    The writer was surprised to find out that some of the facades were composed of Iron. During the 1800′s Many major cities had iron facades more for decoration than anything else. In New York city many buildings still have their iron facade.

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