Park and Elizabeth Streets, 1918

Photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress

1918 This view of Park and Elizabeth streets in downtown Detroit looking south shows an area that has changed tremendously, but some vestiges of old Detroit remain today. Going south from the left foreground is what appears to be a large home, replaced in the early 1920s by the Women’s City Club, which still stands. The Chop Suey restaurant and house (notice the person sitting on the porch) is where the Park Bar and Cliff Bell’s jazz club are now. Beyond that is the Albert Kahn-designed Kresge Building, built in 1914.

The refurbished residential skyscraper is now known as the Kales Building. In the distance is the Statler Hotel, erected in 1915 and razed in 2005. Heading north on the west side of the street is the Hotel Tuller. It was built in 1906 and underwent three additions, the first in 1910. The Tuller, too, is gone. With its canopied entrance, the 1905 Hotel Charlevoix stands next to it; today it’s empty and dilapidated. At press time, street-level fencing surrounded it. The Romanesque building in the right foreground has also vanished, replaced by a parking lot.

After decades of decline, Park Avenue and its environs have experienced a resurgence in the last several years, with crowds gravitating to clubs, restaurants, and bars such as The Town Pump, Centaur, the Colony Club, the Park Bar, Cliff Bell’s, and the Bucharest Grill. And renovated residential buildings like the Iodent Lofts and the Park Avenue House are further evidence of the area’s upswing. Between Adams and the Fisher Freeway, Park Avenue is a designated city, state, and national historic district.

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