National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name First Federal Building
Reference Number 13000906
State Michigan
County Wayne
Town Detroit
Street Address 1001 Woodward Avenue
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 12/11/2013
Areas of Significance Architecture, Community Planning & Development
Link to full file
The First Federal Building meets National Register of Historic Places criterion 'A' under Community Planning & Development as one of the major buildings in a downtown building boom that followed in the wake of the massive public investment in the development of a new Civic Center complex in the heart of Detroit's downtown in the 1950s. Along with First Federal, this small group of late 1950s-early 1960s buildings, including the National Bank of Detroit (Chase Bank) Building, Michigan Consolidated Gas Company Building (One Woodward Avenue), and 211 West Fort Street Building, brought about a major transformation in the downtown skyline from the last major development in the late 1920s. The First Federal Building meets National Register criterion 'C ' under Architecture as a prime example of Modernist, tall office building design in Detroit's downtown, notable for its planning with open plaza space around it and for its use of a highly distinctive material, dark brownish granite from Minnesota, as its exterior cladding material in contrast to the other new downtown office towers, which used more typical light-colored concrete aggregate panels, marble or enameled aluminum panels. The building is also significant in architectural terms as a major 1960s project of the old and leading Detroit architectural firm of Smith, Hinchman & Grylls (SH&G). Construction began in 1963, a formal dedication was held in June, 1964, and the building was fully completed and opened to the public in 1965.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria