Project Description

The Hotel Fort Wayne was built in 1926 at 408 Temple Street, at the corner of Cass Ave, in Detroit’s notorious Cass Corridor neighborhood. The Hotel Fort Wayne was designed by Detroit-based architects Weston and Ellington, who had also already designed the beautiful Park Shelton Hotel and the ornate Metropolitan Building. The Hotel Fort Wayne is an eleven-story, brick structure, with beautiful red and blue tiles that crown the top of the hotel. The Hotel Fort Wayne had over 300 rooms, a ballroom/auditorium, and even a bowling alley. The Hotel Fort Wayne is named in honor of General Anthony Wayne and after Detroit’s historic Fort Wayne.

The Hotel Fort Wayne was in trouble shortly after opening. When the Great Depression hit Detroit in the 1930’s, the Hotel Fort Wayne was sold on several occasion, to several different owners. It managed to barely stay afloat through the decades, and when the 1960’s came, the Hotel Fort Wayne changed owners again. This is when the Hotel Fort Wayne changed names to the American Hotel.

The American Hotel didn’t fare much better. By the 1970’s, the hotel had already nearly gone bankrupt after being sued, caught in a million-dollar fraud scandal, and an employee strike. A local Detroit businessman purchased the ill-fated hotel and tried to convert the hotel into a hotel with low-rent apartments. This idea backfired and the hotel was on it’s way to closing. By the 1980’s and 1990’s, the Cass Corridor had become prostitute, drug, and vagrant-infested and the American Hotel was right at the center of the epidemic. Needless to say, the American Hotel soon became a product of it’s own environment.

The American Hotel closed for good in 2000. The owner of the American Hotel tried to keep the property secure. The entire first-floor was boarded up and there was even a motion-sensor alarm at one point.

As of 2016, the former Hotel Fort Wayne is still abandoned. Although the alarm doesn’t work anymore, the hotel is still boarded up and well-secure. There has been rumors that pizza-guru, Mike Illitch , has purchased the property and will likely renovate or demolish the historic structure in way for the new Detroit Red Wings Arena.