The Milner Hotel, originally the Henry Clay Hotel, was built by Henry Clay Hodges, a wealthy Detroit manufacturer, author and real estate developer. Originally from Vermont, Hodges moved from Marshall, MI. to Detroit in 1862 to associate with his brother in the life insurance business. He built the Hodges Building on the corner of Griswold and State, now the location of the David Stott Building, in addition to the Henry Clay Hotel. The Hodges brothers also subdivided a portion of the city north of Grand River Avenue, Including Trumbull and Lincoln Avenue.
In addition to real estate, Henry Clay Hodges had a lifetime interest in science. He found time to write books on scientific topics, including 2000 Years in Celestial Life…(Received through Psychic Telegraphy)… Detroit, 1901 and Science and Key of Life, Planetary Influences, 7 volumes, Detroit 1902-1910. Hodges was a great believer in astrology. He died on August 31, 1919 at the age of 91.
The Henry Clay Hotel was designed by the architectural partnership of Alvin E. Harley and Norman S. Atcheson. The original eight story reinforced concrete and brick hotel building erected in 1913 was 77’ wide by 65’ long; its eastern half was built in 1915.
Henry C. Hodges Realty owned the hotel until 1950, when it was sold to Milner Hotels, Inc. and its name changed accordingly.
The Milner Hotel is a nine-story brick building on a rusticated base. The building conforms with the triangular shape of its site, resulting is a very narrow west end. Irregular massing due to the banks of bay windows add architectural interest to the building; the six-story bays rising from the second story are supported on large brackets extending to the first story. Store Windows and projecting entrance add diversity in massing on the first story. A denticulated cornice separates the eighth and ninth stories.
The building is now being turned into The Ashley apartments.