The Detroit Dry Dock was built in 1892 and was the first of six industrial buildings that were built as a complex for manufacturing and repairing marine steam engines and boilers for Great Lakes freighters and passenger vessels. The rest of the Detroit Dry Dock complex was built between 1892 and 1919. Together the entire complex was The Detroit Dry Dock Engine Works. The Detroit Dry Dock building was significant in the fact that it was one of the first industrial buildings in Detroit that was entirely supported by a large steel frame with brick walls. It was the first of its kind and many more were built like this after the building’s engineering marvel. Another interesting fact is that during it’s time as Detroit Dry Dock Engine Works, a young Henry Ford worked here and this complex and is where his education (and imagination) took him to build the Ford automobile years later.
In 1966, Globe Trading Company bought the former Detroit Dry Dock industrial building. Globe Trading Company was a wholesale dealer in machinery and mill supplies. It was abandoned around 1996. It remained vacant until recently, in 2013, it was renovated by the City of Detroit and became the “Outdoor Adventure & Discovery Center.” The renovations did little to change the original steel structure, once again showing that the engineering of the late 19th century is still a marvel today.