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Russell House: 1900

Russell House: 1900

Detroit circa 1900. "Russell House, Woodward Avenue and Cadillac Square." Razed in 1905 to make way for the Hotel Pontchartrain. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Safety Minus

In answer to the amazing video clip of the 1902 time lapse filmed of the demolition of the Star Theater NY, and posted by TimeandAgainPhoto. Not much effort went into safety. No gantry or any public protection, workers hardly ever wore gloves, let alone hard hats, goggles, safety harnesses etc. The life of many buildings is surprisingly short as evidenced by the first three incarnations on the Russell site.

Neatness doesn't count

Wow, nice video find, TimeAndAgainPhoto! They didn't so much demolish that building as un-build it. I bet most of those bricks could be reused, too.

Re: Question

Mark P - Here is an example that may address your question


Back then in 1905 how did you go about taking a building this size down and dispose of it? How many times have posts on Shorpy said that the building pictured was replaced but this time my question came to mind. Was steam wrecking ball equipment available? Was it shoveled into carts and hauled away by horse power? Lots of questions.

Signs of the Times

The hotel is a billboard of its own.

As the world speeds by, two boys stand to pose for the camera while two men, almost identically arm-in-arm, walk past them going the other way. It looks a bit poetic.

Is that a pipe ladder reaching above the top of the hotel?


TIL there were three hotels on this site. Here's the timeline:

1836 - 1857: National Hotel
1857 - 1905: Russell House (pictured)
1907 - 1920!: Hotel Pontchartrain
1922 - now: First National Building (see below)

We'll never know

On the far left of the photo, approaching the street corner, is a gent who seems to have a generously hatted Gibson girl slung over one shoulder while he propels a smallish child with his other arm. Or maybe he was just toting something unwieldy -- oversized oars? tent poles? dinghy masts? -- while the kid trotted patiently by his side. On third thought, the youngster is more likely a fire hydrant, and in the gent's free hand is a giant pinwheel. At any rate it looks to have been an interesting day for him.

Moonlight Tower Sighting!

It's been a while since we've seen one.

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