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Top 5 Monuments In Greater Detroit

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

The Greater Detroit area has an incredibly large number of structures listed on either the National Register of Historic Places or as National Landmarks. From industrial and commercial structures to residential buildings and large pieces of functional or visual artwork, there are many monuments in this historic city. Take a look at the top five monuments in the Detroit area.

1. The Fist

This monument to African-American boxing great Joe Louis (1914-1981) has elicited controversy over its 26 years at Hart Plaza. The Fist sculpture stands 24-feet long, weighs 8,000 pounds and was completed as a memorial to the boxer. Some say the fist at the end of the arm should have a boxing glove as evidence of his World Heavyweight Champion status, others wish it was a better representation of all that Joe Louis stood for. Whatever people believe, it stands as a well-known Detroit icon.

2. Hurlbut Memorial Gate

Hurlbut Memorial Gate, located in the Jefferson Corridor area, is located at the Waterworks Park entrance (the main site of Detroit's city water system). The gate is made of limestone in Beaux Arts style and is named for Detroit grocer and Water Commissioner Chauncey Hurlbut (1803-1885).

3. Our Lady Of The Rosary Roman Catholic Church

While not a true monument, one can't miss this distinctive church in the New Center area. This incredible Romanesque Revival structure was originally an Episcopal church that was completed in 1896. Constructed of massive sandstone blocks with a cross-gabled roof, two towers are on each side, one round and the other square. It has a large rose-colored window above the entrance.

4. Michigan Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument

A sculpture honoring Civil War veterans made with an octagonal shape, Michigan Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument was unveiled in 1872. Located at a downtown traffic circle by Campus Martius Park and Compuware World Headquarters, the monument was rededicated in 2005 with the opening of the time capsule in the monument and the updating of the list of Michigan dead from the Civil War through the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

5. Belle Isle Peace Carillon

Constructed in 1939-1940 and dedicated to Detroit News columnist Nancy Brown, the Neo-Gothic Peace Carillon on Belle Isle provides relaxing sounds (carillon is a musical instrument at the bell tower of a church) throughout the surrounding area. A moat surrounds the carillon tower. Even though the city has been unable to find funds for the upkeep of the grounds, the music plays on.

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