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Michigan Bell Building

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Michigan Bell Telephone Company Office Building
1929–1930, Smith, Hinchman and Grylls. 309 S. Washington Ave.
  • (Photograph by Balthazar Korab)

The Michigan Bell Telephone Company's Saginaw office building served as headquarters for the northern part of the Lower Peninsula and housed new automatic dial telephone equipment for this central Michigan district. Michigan Bell prided itself on its construction of fine buildings to enhance the communities that it served. Between 1925 and 1930 it erected forty-five practical and attractive buildings. The Saginaw office was among the largest and most imposing—second only to the headquarters in Detroit. Termed by the company “a modern American style of architecture,” the squat, eight-story building is one of the few Art Deco buildings in Saginaw. It was constructed to be fireproof; gray limestone clads its steel reinforced-concrete and brick skeleton. Its sturdy construction of 74 cement footings buried 18 to 22 feet underground and 74 reinforced-steel columns supported the installation of heavy machinery and could accommodate the addition of three more stories. The top two stories are set back and crested—almost crenellated—with low-relief chevrons. This building and an addition in 1974 house telephone equipment for the Saginaw Valley region.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Michigan Bell Building", [Saginaw, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 317-318.

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