You are here

Grand Circus Park

-A A +A
1805–1807, 1850–present. Bisected by Woodward Ave. at the convergence of Washington Blvd., Bagley St., Broadway, and Madison Ave.
  • (Photograph by Balthazar Korab)

Grand Circus Park is the northernmost culmination of the city plan devised by Judge Augustus Woodward in 1805–1807. The city established the park in 1850. By the 1860s the park was surrounded by villas and mansions. The Gothic Revival limestone Central Methodist Episcopal Church (1866–1867, Gordon W. Lloyd) is evidence of the area's original noncommercial character. Between 1890 and 1930 the streets surrounding and leading to the park were built up with high-rise, high-quality commercial skyscrapers, hotels, and movie palaces. Among them at the southwest corner of Woodward and Park avenues is the David Whitney Building (1915, Daniel H. Burnham). The corridors of the professional office building face an interior court, and the offices have outward-facing windows.

Standing in the park are statues depicting and memorializing prominent Detroit and Michigan public figures, including Detroit mayor and Michigan governor Hazen S. Pingree (1840–1901), U.S. senator Russell A. Alger (1836–1907), and Detroit mayor William Maybury (1848–1909). Henry Bacon designed the Russell Alger Memorial Fountain (1921), and Daniel French sculpted a classic Roman figure symbolizing Michigan contained therein. A parking garage was constructed beneath the park in 1956. Circumnavigating the park's south side is the People Mover ( WN8).

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Grand Circus Park", [Detroit, 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, 67-68.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.