Lower Woodward Avenue Historic District

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Lower Woodward Avenue Historic District
Detroit's Historic Merchant's Row along Woodward Avenue
Location Detroit, Michigan
 United States
Coordinates 42°20′3″N 83°2′56″W / 42.33417°N 83.04889°W / 42.33417; -83.04889Coordinates: 42°20′3″N 83°2′56″W / 42.33417°N 83.04889°W / 42.33417; -83.04889
Architect Albert Kahn, Gordon W. Lloyd, et al.
Architectural style Early Commercial, Late Victorian
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 99000051[1]
Added to NRHP February 12, 1999

The Lower Woodward Avenue Historic District, also known as Merchant's Row, is a mixed-use retail, commercial, and residential district in downtown Detroit, Michigan, located between Campus Martius Park and Grand Circus Park Historic District at 1201 through 1449 Woodward Avenue (two blocks between State Street to Clifford Street) and 1400 through 1456 Woodward Avenue (one block between Grand River Avenue and Clifford Street). The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.[1]


The Lower Woodward Avenue Historic District contains thirty-four commercial buildings[2] built at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, many by noted architects.[3] By the 1920s, this area of the city was one of the most active shopping districts in the nation; in 1925, the State and Woodward interseation was the most active pedestrian crossing corner in the U.S.[3]

Many famous and historic Detroit businesses either began or had flagship stores in or near the district, including Vernors, Sanders Confectionery, Winkelman's, S.S. Kresge Co., F. W. Woolworth Company, and Hudson's.[3] New retail has emerged in the district.[4] In 2011, the Forbes Company which owns the upscale Somerset Collection mall in the suburb of Troy debuted a group of seasonal pop-up mini-shops called Somerset Collection CityLoft on Merchant's Row as part of 'Downtown Detroit Days', generally open the last Thursday through Saturday of the month from June through August, and occasionally September.[5][6] Michigan-based outdoor outfitter Moosejaw has opened a Detroit location along Merchant's Row at 1275 Woodward Avenue.


Most of the structures in the district are of steel frame construction with a front windowed facade finished with brownstone, white brick, white Terra Cotta, or red brick.[7] They all stand wall-to-wall, filling the lot lines and fronting directly on the sidewalk.[7] Most were originally designed to house retail on the first floor and offices on the upper floors.[7]


See also[edit]