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Coleman A. Young Municipal Center (City-County Building)

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City-County Building
1955, Harley, Ellington and Day. 2 Woodward Ave.
  • (Photograph by Kathryn Bishop Eckert)

Renamed, after his death, for Coleman A. Young (1918–1997), mayor of Detroit from 1973 to 1993, this glass-walled International Style government building houses offices and court and meeting rooms of the city and the county. Thin, white marble strips rise the full nineteen-story height of the glass and steel court tower. This block contrasts sharply with the horizontally oriented fourteen-story administration tower block to which it is connected. Marshall M. Fredericks's twenty-five-foot-tall bronze sculpture Spirit of Detroit, affectionately called the “Jolly Green Giant,” faces Woodward Avenue against a marble wall that supports the canopied main entrance at the short end of the tower block. The artist said, in the Detroit News of July 12, 1958, that the seated male figure with arms out flung symbolizes “the universal spirit of man as an expression of God.”

City government's move to this modern efficient building in keeping with the times was the undoing of the historic city hall on Cadillac Square. The lavish Second Empire civic building of light yellow Ohio sandstone, designed by James Anderson before the Civil War and erected in 1868–1871, was demolished in 1961.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert

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