Great Article on Detroit Newspaper History

As the People Mover noisily meanders through downtown, it passes a stop with a famous name and a fading memory: Times Square, the onetime home of the Detroit Times newspaper.

The Times was first published on Oct. 1, 1900, as Detroit Today under publisher James Schermerhorn. It was sold Oct. 6, 1921, at a receiver’s sale to newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, who folded the paper into his growing nationwide empire. When Hearst bought the Times, it had a daily circulation of only 26,000. A year later, it had exploded to 150,000, reaching a peak of about 440,000 daily in 1950. In mid-July 1922, Hearst added a Sunday edition of the paper, which reached a peak circulation of 625,000 people in March 1949.

Such growth demanded a bigger building, so Hearst commissioned renowned architect Albert Kahn to design his newspaper a palace, much like other owners had for the Detroit News (built in 1917) and the Detroit Free Press (1912 and a successor in 1925). And Kahn would not disappoint. The stunning Art Deco home of the Detroit Times arose at Cass Avenue and Times Square, and was dedicated to much fanfare on Dec. 6, 1929. Among those giving speeches were owner William Randolph Hearst and Gov. Fred W. Green. Some of the attendees included Kahn, Henry and Edsel Ford, local poet Edgar Guest, General Motors President Alfred P. Sloan and members of other prominent Detroit families, such as Briggs, Booth, Crowley, Fisher, Joy, Himelhoch and Scripps.

It was from this building that hundreds of thousands of Detroiters would get their news, from that day in December 1929 until the paper was silenced in November 1960.

Walking through the front doors under the tower, visitors would enter a several-story atrium outfitted in marble and granite. A bank of walnut-paneled elevators to the entrance’s right would whisk reporters up to the sixth-floor city room. A grand staircase in the back of the lobby offered a more leisurely ascension when not on deadline. The lobby was decorated with lovely veined stone and elegant bronze castings.

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