The Engel Brothers Building, or the Engel Bros. Building as the façade reads, was built in 1913 and was located at 12301 Gratiot Avenue at the corner of Whithorn Street, on Detroit’s north east side. The Engel Brothers Building was a small, three-story building that was designed in a Renaissance Revival style architecture.
The façade of Engel Brothers Building was made of red-brick and stone detail. The façade of the Engel Brothers Building featured arched-windows on the third floor exterior and rectangular-windows on the second floor exterior. Separating each set of the windows was a thick, stone border that surrounded the entire window frame. Between the second and third floor windows, there was horizontal rows of intricate, stone designs that featured small rectangles; each with curlicue-like carvings. Below the second floor windows and above the main entrance on Gratiot Avenue, a circular stone with the words “ENGEL BROS.” served as the exterior, entrance centerpiece. Between the building’s cornice and the third floor windows, a rectangular-stone block had the word “ENGEL” sculpted in the center. The cornice of the Engel Brothers Building featured small dentils that lined the roofline. Just below the cornice and surrounding the upper part of the façade, there were multiple stone garland designs that gave the exterior façade an extra appeal. The roofline of the Engel Brothers Building also featured a brick pediment that was at the center of the exterior façade and rose above the rectangular-stone block “ENGEL” piece. The pediment was topped with a stone, spade-like design that protruded from the actual pediment and overlooked the front of the building. For a smaller building, the Engel Brothers Building had some gorgeous exterior details.
The Engel Brothers Building was the headquarters and showroom of a high grade furniture and household equipment company. The company, known as the Engel Brothers, was owned and operated by brothers George and Frank Engel. The Engel Brothers Building stayed as the Engel Brothers headquarters for many years until 1960, when they eventually had to move into a bigger space. The Engel Brothers Building remained retail and office space and was owned and used by several different tenants over the years.
In 2002, the last tenant, Joseph’s Storehouse, left the Engel Brothers Building. Joseph’s Storehouse sold a wide variety of items such as sofas, loveseats, kitchen tables, children’s toys, TV’s, microwaves, pictures, lamps, beds, home decorations, and more.
As of 2105, the Engel Brothers Building is still abandoned. There are no current plans to do anything with the abandoned building.