Welcome to Detroit’s Capitol Park

One of Michigan's preeminent history locations, Capitol Park is a landmark of liberty, for at this site began full self-government by the people of Michigan in the Union of American states.

The Park is situated in a historic district in Detroit bounded by Grand River Avenue, Woodward Avenue, Michigan Avenue, and Washington Boulevard, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Capitol Park is a triangular plot of land bounded by State, Griswold, and Shelby Streets. The shape is an artifact of the 1805 Woodward plan for the city of Detroit inspired by L' Enfant's conception for the District of Columbia. Adjacent buildings include the historic Farwell Building, the Albert Kahn-designed Griswold Building, and the David Stott tower. The statue is by Albert Weinert, cast in bronze from melted-down Fort Michilimackinac cannons. The sculpture is by Morris Brose (1914–2000), native of Wyszkow, Poland, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1931. He was a watchmaker in Highland Park, then a well-known Detroit artist as part of the Arts and Crafts Movement; he taught at the College of Creative Studies, among other places. Sentinel X was constructed in 1979.

In 1823, the population of Michigan Territory caused Congress to transfer governance to a governor, legislative council, and judges. To house the new government, a structure was built here between 1823-28. When Michigan became a State in 1837, the building became the State capitol, and it functioned as such until 1847 when the government seat moved to Lansing. The building was used as a public high school until destroyed by fire in 1893. The land was then converted to a park, and it has remained a public space up to the present. In 1955, Capitol Park was redesigned for use as a public transport hub with a modern-style shelter. That structure was removed in the 1970s. In 2009, the opening of the Rosa Parks Transit Center restored the site to status as a park.

Capitol Park has a historic connection to the Underground Railroad. In 1850, Seymour Finney purchased a plot of land near the park and erected a tavern with a large barn that served as a way station on the pathway to freedom. A State historical marker commemorates Finney's Barn.

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