Historic Detroit

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

Penobscot Building - Photos

The building is named for the Penobscot, a Native American tribe from Maine. Native American motifs in art deco style ornamentation is used on the exterior and the interiors.

The Penobscot Building as seen from a distance in 2022

The Penobscot complex with the main (tallest) building on the left

A unique view at the Penobscot building's top floors with the Buhl building on the right.

There are actually three Penobscot buildings. The first is the 13-story building Murphy erected in 1905, though he died shortly before it opened. It was joined by a 24-story tower in 1916 built. The third, the 47-story tower known as the Greater Penobscot, was built at a cost of $5 million.

Native American motifs in art deco style ornamentation on the exterior

The American Indian chief over the Griswold Street entrance

The knob of the Penobscot has shined over Detroit for more than 80 years.

The Penobscot and Dime buildings at night

All three of the Penobscot buildings - the first is at center, the second at right and the final is the tall drink of water in back.

These owl men guard the entrance to the Penobscot on Griswold Street.

The Penobscot, center, with the Guardian Building at left.

The Penobscot, left, and Dime buildings stand proudly along Griswold Street.

More than 80 years after opening, the Penobscot remains a dominating fixture in Campus Martius.

The Penobscot as seen from the roof of the Guardian Building.

The lobby of the Penobscot was sadly modernized.

The Penobscot still dominates downtown's skyline.

A rare view of the Penobscot from the roof of the First National Building

Big Chief perched above the Griswold Street entrance

Todd Farnum climbs the Penobscot's iconic beacon to change the bulbs in spring 2015.

When completed in 1928, the Penobscot Building was the world's eighth tallest building. It was the city's tallest from 1928 to 1977.

Looking up - The Penobscot block (the 1905 Penobscot, the 1916 Penobscot Annex and the 1928 Penobscot Building), the Buhl Building and the backside of the Ford Building.