Why is a seemingly ordinary two-story, flat roofed building on Michigan Avenue near the former Tiger Stadium listed on the Michigan Historical Register? When immigrant neighborhoods developed in Detroit and other large cities in the decades after the Civil War, they were walking neighborhoods. Men had to walk to nearby locations such as the docks, tobacco plants or rail yards for their jobs. And to buy consumer goods, you had to walk to local dry goods stores, haberdashers, millenary shops, butchers and fish mongers. Corktown began its development as an Irish neighborhood in the first half of the 19th century and continued to grow.
The building that Nemo's Bar now occupies is a classic example of the retail establishments that served the needs of immigrant neighborhoods before the time of an extensive streetcar system. It is a red brick, wood-trimmed Late Victorian commercial building with large glass windows on the first floor banked by pedimented entrances on either side. Above the cornice separating the first and second stories is a façade articulated in three sections. There are seven tall windows on the second story accented by masonry details. Toward the top, there is a parapet wall with the date of the building's construction shown in the decorative cornice.
This building has served many retailers over the years and, presumably, offered a home to owners on the upper floors. From the mid-1930 until the later years of Thomas Monohan's ownership, the Detroit Tigers were a competitive baseball team, drawing more than two million fans several times in the Post World War II era. Nemo's Bar occupied this retail building and attracted customers before and after the baseball games at nearby Tiger Stadium. Beginning in the 1950s, Nemo's Bar became a focal point for Detroit's St. Patrick's Day Parade. Twelve years after the closing of Tiger Stadium, Nemo's Bar continues to offer food and refreshments to customers, This picture above was taken in 2002. In 2008, Tiger Stadium was razed so you will no longer find light towers in this Detroit neighborhood.
Architect and Builder: Peter D. Tallant
Date of construction: 1883
Address: 1378 to 1384 Michigan Avenue just southwest of downtown Detroit and very near Tiger Stadium
Use in 2012: Just as at the date of its construction, this impressive and attractive building is used for retail trade.
Michigan State Register: P25169 Listed May 18, 1989
Photo: Ren Farley; August, 2002
Description updated: March, 2012
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