Agriculture. Lumbering. Mining. Finance. Fishing. Commerce. Manufacture.
Those were the ingredients for Detroit’s roaring success, the great churning wheel of industrial progress. Paved roads of gleaming concrete unrolled before it, the trees practically felling themselves along the way. A guardian angel holding ample horns of plenty to her bosom watched over the pleasant peninsula, its prosperity divinely guaranteed.
Then the Great Depression hit.
No other building – or work of art – quite captured the exuberance of Detroit in the ’20s like the Guardian Building and Ezra Winter’s Michigan Mural. Housed within the radiant, Aztec-inspired skyscraper of tangerine, blood red, cream, and sky blue, Winter’s painting reinterprets capitalism with a spiritual air. Under the kaleidoscopic, mosaic-like fractals of the main banking hall’s tremendous vaulted ceiling, you can almost feel Adam Smith’s invisible hand resting on your shoulder.
They didn’t call it the “Cathedral of Finance” for nothing. It was intended…
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