There is only one reason to include a picture of the Temple Bar in this website devoted to the history and future of Detroit. It is a classic example of Art Deco styling as applied to a modest-sized neighborhood bar. In the 1920s, Art Deco styling became briefly popular. In almost all ways, it differed greatly from the Classical, the Victorian, the Romanesque and other earlier styles. Detroit grew very rapidly in the 1920s as the prosperity of the vehicle industry made the Motor City the nation’s fourth largest. Architects in Detroit used the inspiration of Art Deco to design a few dozen buildings. Many of these are pictured in Art Deco in Detroit by Rebecca Binno Savage and Greg Kowalski (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publications).
Several of the most commonly used Art Deco materials are on display in the Temple Bar. You see the glass block windows and the long aluminum strips emphasizing the horizontal. For a long time, the exterior featured black porcelain enamel steel panels. At one time, the Temple Bar name and a cresant moon were shown in white against the black porcelain steel panels. More recently, the panels have apparently been painted an unattractive green.
I do not know who designed this building. I presume that it was built in the 1920s with the aim of serving those who stayed at the nearby Masonic Temple or attended events there. A dozen or so years ago, the Cass Corridor was one of the more unattractive areas near downtown Detroit. In recent years, that portion of the Cass Corridor near Wayne State University and the Cultural Center has become a desirable and vibrant location. If current plans to develop the nearby Eddystone Hotel into upscale condominiums succeed, it is possible to imagine that the Art Deco Temple Bar will be restored to its original glory.
Architect or designer: Unknown to me
Date of Construction: Unknown to me, presumably late 1920s or early 1930s
Architectural style: Art Deco
City of Detroit Designated Historic District: Not listed
State of Michigan Registry of Historic Places: Not listed
National Register of Historic Sites: Not Listed
Use in 2008: Drinking establishment
Telephone number: 313-832-2822
Photograph: Ren Farley, September 11, 2008
Description prepared: September, 2008
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