The Detroit Museum of Art, 1915

Photograph courtesy of The Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

1915 Since 1927, Detroit’s repository of great art has been housed in the sprawling Paul Cret-designed Italian Renaissance building on Woodward. But before there was a Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), there was the Detroit Museum of Art, an imposing Romanesque-style structure designed by James Balfour, at East Jefferson and Hastings. The castle-like building, seen here around 1915, opened in 1888. Although an art school and wings were added, the building still proved too small for Detroit’s growing population and its concomitant interest in art. When the new DIA opened, the once-lofty Museum of Art served as offices for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Later, the Public Welfare Department called it home. Finally, the grand old edifice came tumbling down in 1960 to make way for I-75.