Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reclaiming Michigan's original state capitol

It doesn't look like much yet, but redevelopment of historic Capitol Park in Detroit is underway. To the unqualified person – who for reasons unknown manages a blog of his findings downtown – redevelopment of this little triangular-shaped chunk of space has the potential to have a huge impact on Detroit.

Located a few blocks from Campus Martius Park, Capitol Park is a natural next step in expanding the rebirth of downtown Detroit to the west. It's wedged between State, Shelby and Griswold streets, and only a block off Woodward. If they pull off at Capitol Park what they have at Campus Martius, the RiverWalk and other places, it has the potential to breathe new life into a number of surrounding buildings, all of which enjoy historic landmark status as part of the Capitol Park Historic District.

The entire area wears such high distinction because it is the one-time home of Michigan's first state capitol. From the 1820s through 1847, when the capitol moved to Lansing, a relatively small courthouse (which no longer stands) served as Michigan's capital.