[graphic header] Detroit: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary, National Park Service


The General Motors Building, completed in 1923, is the oldest extant General Motors Headquarters building in Detroit. Founded in 1908 by William C. Durant, General Motors grew to be a leader in the automobile industry by acquiring Buick, Oldsmobile, Oakland (later named Pontiac), Cadillac, Chevrolet, and several lesser known automobile manufacturers and parts suppliers. Between 1908 and 1923, General Motors was headquartered in a number of rented offices, first in New York and then in Detroit. In 1919, company officials decided to build a permanent headquarters and hired noted architect Albert Kahn to create the design. The construction and completion of this impressive building marked the beginning of the Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. era, which saw General Motors surpassing its competitors in total sales. Sloan, who became president after Durant was ousted in 1921, created a decentralized management plan that became a model for much of the rest of American industry. Under Sloan's direction, General Motors also popularized the annual model which gave consumers the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of color combinations and personal amenities. The company is still headquartered in the General Motors Building and is today one of the largest manufacturing companies in the world. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.

The General Motors Building is located at 3044 West Grand Boulevard, seven blocks north of the Edsel Ford Freeway. The Building is open to the public.

General Motors Building General Motors Building

  GM Building main entrance General Motors Building main entrance
Photographs by Ralph Christian

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