Step Back in Time at These Detroit Historic Sites

February 27th, 2020 by

From exploring our musical roots at the Motown Museum to learning about our colonial roots at Historic Fort Wayne, there is much to see and do in Detroit. Here are several must-see historical sites in the Motor City. 

The Motown Museum

Founded by Esther Gordon Edwards in 1985, the Motown Museum is a popular tourist attraction. Located inside Hitsville U.S.A, the Motown Museum is dedicated to preserving the history of the Motown Record Company. Going into the museum is like stepping back into the glory days of Motown Records. The museum has many unique exhibits, including outfits worn by famous performers, records, and even Gordy Berry’s apartment.

Be sure to visit Motown Museum’s famous Studio A where many of Motown’s greatest hits, including songs by the Temptations and the Supremes, were recorded. The Studio still has original instruments and equipment from Motown’s golden era. You can also visit the control room and see the original recording consoles and equipment. The Motown Museum is open every day except Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sainte Anne Parish de Detroit

If you love historical architecture, pay a visit to Sainte Anne Parish de Detroit. Sainte Anne Parish de Detroit was founded in 1701 and is the oldest Catholic community in the city. The church itself was built in 1886 and is a stunning example of neo-Gothic architecture. The intricate stained glass windows at Sainte Anne are the oldest in Detroit. Walk-in visits are not allowed, but Sainte Anne’s does offer hour-long tours on weekdays. On the tour, you can take in the parish’s impressive architecture, striking starred ceiling, religious art, Catholic history, the Shrine of Sainte Anne, and visit the resting place of Father Gabriel Richard. 

The Guardian Building

The Guardian Building is a famous skyscraper located in Detroit’s financial district. The building was built in 1928-1929 and is one of the finest examples of art-deco architecture. Originally called the Union Trust Building, the Guardian is a striking example of 1920s grandeur. The Guardian is full of explosive color and lavish materials, from the custom tiles lining its dome to the Italian travertine steps.

Be sure to check out the impressive banking hall mural and glass mosaic, both created by Ezra Winter. Detroit native Corrado Parducci created the reliefs that line the main entrance. The Guardian Building has been designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.

Historic Fort Wayne

Take a trip into the early history of Detroit by paying a trip to Historic Fort Wayne. The grounds of Fort Wayne include the star fort built in 1845, the original 1848 barracks, the Commanding Officer’s quarter and a Spanish-American War guardhouse. You can also visit an ancient Native American burial mound found on the property. The Tuskegee Airman Museum is also on fort grounds and houses artifacts and exhibits celebrating the first African American Army aviators of World War II.

You can visit Historic Fort Wayne on weekends from May through October, although group tours are available on weekdays. Fort Wayne’s living historians and reenactors will help you experience what life was like at the fort throughout its history.

Detroit is a city rich in historical significance. The next time you are in Detroit, spend some time digging into the city’s past at any one of these interesting historical sites.