In Julia Reyes Taubman’s new book, Detroit: 138 Square Miles, the local photographer explores the city through her lens in a way that many of her contemporaries have not. Disregarding whether a building was abandoned or still inhabited, Taubman captures both the Motor City’s decay and rebuilding process. Culled from the photos of this newly released coffee table book, here is a day trip for locals to check out some underrated Detroit landmarks.
The architecture firm of Albert Kahn Associates has a resume of work in Detroit that is far-reaching and expansive to say the least. Yet, The Fisher Building is perhaps one of its most impressive achievements. Led by head architect Joseph Nathaniel French, the group started work on the building, located at 3011 West Grand Boulevard in Midtown, to serve as the headquarters of the Fisher Body Company. Start your day trip here by checking out the immaculate golden tower as you drive into the city. Once inside the building, take in the vaulted art-deco ceilings, as illustrated in Taubman’s photo.
Distance to next destination: 1.49 Miles, 4 Minutes
Hidden between the Detroit Science Center and the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Scarab Club is a contemporary art gallery with walls that date back to 1928. Deemed a National Historic Site in 1979, the well-worn wood beams of the building showcase an impressive who’s-who of signatures from traveling artists who have visited the club including Diego Rivera, Margaret Burke White and Norman Rockwell. Be sure to check out the rotating exhibitions that take place monthly as they often feature some of Detroit’s finest current artists.
Distance to next destination: 1.61 Miles, 5 Minutes
Known as the world’s largest Masonic Temple, this Cass Corridor building is not only the meeting place for local masonic organizations, but is also home to touring music acts and the Detroit Derby Girls. Using the classic wooden floors from the original 1922 construction, captured above in Julia Reyes Taubman’s photo, local roller skating ladies smash and grab their way to victory in homage to the glory days of 1940s roller derby. Even if the hometown favorite Detroit Pistoffs aren’t in for an evening of primal rage on eight wheels, the Masonic’s ornate Gothic features are enough to make you want to come back for more.
Distance to next destination: 1.02 Miles, 4 Minutes
Quaint, but not quiet, Cafe D’Mongos Speakeasy and it’s namesake/owner Larry Mongo are a little known secret landmark in Detroit. With hours that are limited to Fridays nights and an ambiance that is more Bourbon Street than Griswold Street, D’Mongos is the perfect place to rest with a drink after a few hours of Detroit daytripping. The restaurant/bar features a simple-yet-classic soul food menu and features fantastic live music ranging from jazz to soul to rock. Say “Hey!” to Larry and he will be sure to greet you with a big smile, a hug and, if you’re lucky, some great stories from Detroit’s past.