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Cobbs and Mitchell Building (Michigan Department of Transportation District 3 Headquarters Building)
In an effort to maintain Cadillac's economy during the waning of lumbering, Cobbs and Mitchell, the largest lumber company in Cadillac, built this office. The company intended the building to serve as its business office and as a showplace in which to advertise the company's products. Designed by Mason of Detroit, the single-story Beaux-Arts classical building has a main central portion with balancing wings. The building stands on a three-quarter smooth-faced gray granite and sandstone foundation and the walls are clad with brick laid in English bond. A hipped roof above a frieze ornamented with fretwork covers the building. The grand central entrance is festooned and pedimented. Cobbs and Mitchell explained that the interior was planned to demonstrate “the finer possibilities of Michigan hardwoods” for interior finish, flooring, and furniture. Accordingly, it was finished throughout with the nine various woods obtained from the forests of the Cobbs and Mitchell and the Mitchell Brothers companies: Cadillac gray elm, white maple, bird's-eye maple, sap birch, red birch, curly red birch, red beech, red oak, and clear hemlock. According to a company brochure, paneling, flooring, wall covering, draperies, and furniture were united in “a general scheme of harmonious construction and decoration adapted to the practical requirements of business” and to “a dignified and permanent exhibit of the finer uses of Michigan woods.”
In 2005, after vacating the building, the Michigan Department of Transportation (and the City of Cadillac) sought office/mixed use redevelopment proposals in 2009 that would maintain the historic integrity of the remarkable structure that recently served as its Cadillac headquarters. Financial incentives will assist Al Meshkin of Michilake Corporation in redeveloping the building as a restaurant and offices.
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