Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Visit the Penobscot, Detroit's 47-story treasure

Named for a Native American tribe in Maine, the Penobscot Building is probably the most recognizable building in downtown Detroit not called the RenCen. Or Joe Louis. Or the Book Tower. Or Comer...OK, so maybe it only used to be one of the most recognizable buildings downtown. But it's still an awesome place, and much like the Guardian Building nearby (recently profiled on the Kage) the Penobscot is worth a quick tour if you're ever downtown with a half-hour to kill. Somewhat secretly, it offers decent (but not great) shopping that most people don't know about.

While you may be familiar with the Penobscot (it's the one at Fort and Griswold with the huge red beacon at the top that lights up at night) here are a few factoids that show just how prominent the building once was.
• When it was built in 1928, it was the eighth tallest building in the world, and the tallest anywhere outside of New York and Chicago.
• It was the tallest building in Detroit until the RenCen was built in the '70s.
• Somewhat less impressive, its lobby was used during filming of "Eight Mile". You'll see it when Eminem walks through on his way in to a radio station.
• Its huge entrance arch alone is worth checking out, and looks much better when there isn't an SUV parked in the way of what otherwise would've been a nice picture.