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Macomb County Building

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1931–1933, George J. Haas. 10 N. Gratiot Ave.

The Macomb County Building is a twelve-story Art Deco skyscraper in the heart of Mount Clemens. The exterior walls of the steel-framed building are clad in gray limestone. The upper stories step back from the main wall plane, and two-story entrance pavilions project from the center of three sides. Strong continuous piers and recessed windows grouped in vertical bands seem to thrust the building skyward. Terminating the piers are attached granite busts of military figures—a soldier, a sailor, a marine, and an airman (selected in deference to nearby Selfridge Air Base)—and of a Native American and a Revolutionary War soldier. Spandrels carved with zigzags flank the sculptures. Bronze plaques at the entrances depicting a sower, a surveyor, a seaman, and a farmer commemorate the early industries and occupations of Macomb County.

In 1929 the Macomb County Board of Supervisors voted to demolish the overcrowded towered Romanesque Revival red brick courthouse erected to the plans of Northrup J. Gibbs in 1880–1881. Haas (d. 1956) of St. Clair Shores drafted plans for the new county building. Because construction costs were low, and the project would relieve unemployment, funds were earmarked to build. Supervisors let the contract to contractor Otto Misch and construction began despite the Great Depression. Federal relief through the WPA, Public Works Administration (PWA), and CWA and the refinancing of the county's indebtedness aided its completion. Although skeptics said the “county silo” would never be filled, the county building was completed and occupied in 1933.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Kathryn Bishop Eckert
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Citation

Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Macomb County Building", [Mount Clemens, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MI-01-MB1.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 172-173.

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