Historic Detroit

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

Belle Isle Aquarium - Old photos

The pump room

The office at the aquarium

The aquarium's boiler room

The aquarium and the conservatory under construction

The interior of the aquarium in 1958, with the modernized tanks.

An aquarium employee gives a lake sturgeon a scrubdown sometime around 1920.

Belle Isle employees hoist a giant turtle out of its tank. This is likely Big Pete, which was sold during the Depression for meat because the aquarium could no longer afford to take care of him

The aquarium around 1958

The entrance to the aquarium

The Belle Isle Aquarium in 1955

The Belle Isle Aquarium in 1979.

This incredible piece above the main entrance features the city seal

Piranha hang out in 1972

The aquarium in 1979

The aquarium's attendance struggled in the 1970s as Detroit's population shrank.