The Fisher Building, designed by Albert Kahn, was completed in 1928. It’s often called “Detroit’s largest work of art” because of its art deco style, lavish interiors, and marble finishes.
- The Fisher Building sits in the New Center area of Detroit and rises 30 stories.
- Joseph National Finch, one of the architects at Albert Kahn’s office envisioned a complex with three buildings. Tight finances during the Great Depression reduced his plan to one building.
- The outside of the Fisher Building has rounded windows and doors, typical of art deco style. The interior features elaborate ceiling murals.
- The Fisher Family owned Fisher Body, one of the first auto factories in Detroit. The family sold their auto business to GM Motors and used some of the proceeds to finance the Fisher Building.
- The building originally had gold leaf tiles on the roof. During World War II, the tiles were covered with asphalt to reduce the building’s prominence as a protection from enemy bomber pilots. After the war, the asphalt could not be removed without damaging the roof, which was then covered with green tiles. The tiles are lit up for St. Patrick’s Day and other holidays.
- Today the Fisher Building houses the oldest live theater in Detroit, which regularly shows pre-Broadway performances.
- The Detroit Public School District headquarters are housed here too.
- Lavish: luxurious, extravagant
- Mural: painting on a wall surface
Questions and Answers
Question: How old is the theater?
Answer: The original plans included a theater, which could seat 3,500 patrons, and became a movie theater after the Great Depression. The theater was renovated in 1961. It now holds 2,089 larger seats and includes a spacious lobby.
Watch workers restore the murals in the lobby.
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Tobin, Declan. (2020). The Fisher Building - American History For Kids. American History for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/the-fisher-building/