Historic Detroit

Every building in Detroit has a story — we're here to share it

YWCA (first)

This building stood on Washington Boulevard, on the corner of Clifford Street. It was designed by Donaldson & Meier.

It was built at a cost of $115,000. It replaced a Temple Beth El. The building was "not only architecturally, but practically, is expected to be a credit and a blressing to the city of Detroit," the Detroit Free Press reported in 1902. "There will be no attempt at magnificence, but at the same time there will be no 'scrimping.'"

The YWCA moved into bigger digs a little further east, at Montcalm and Witherell streets, in 1929. The $1.5 million building, designed by Albert Kahn, was demolished in 1997 to make way for Comerica Park.

The Book Estate bought the old YWCA, as well as the Merrill B. Mills mansion next to it, in order to demolish them and make way for a 32-story skyscraper that was to be known as the Aviation Town & Country Club of Detroit Building (the building also was known as the Arts Building). The two buildings came down, but the skyscraper - designed by Louis Kamper and his son Paul L. Kamper, never went up. The site served as a parking lot.

The Detroit City Club Apartments, originally known as Trolley Plaza, was built on the site.