The T.B. Rayl Company Building was built in 1915 and was located at 1400 Woodward Avenue at the corner of East Grand River Avenue in downtown Detroit. The T.B. Rayl Company Building was an eight-story, all red-brick and red-terra cotta structure that was designed in both Chicago School and Sullivanesque architectural styles by the Detroit-based architectural firm of Baxter, O’Dell, and Halpin.
The T.B. Rayl Company Building has a strange design in that only the top four floors have windows on the front of the building and half of the south side of the building. Then about halfway across the south façade, two more floors of windows open up and six of the eight floors now have windows. On the back alley side of the building, each of the eight floors all have windows. The red-terra cotta columns that separate each window run vertical almost the entire length of the building. The seventh floor is the only floor with arched-windows that surround the entire exterior façade. There is also a large, red-terra cotta block that protrudes from the façade between the seventh floor and eight floor (top floor) and makes it looks as if the top floor is separate from the rest of the building. Dozens of small, gold treasure chest figures dot the exterior walls of the lower floors that have no windows. The treasure chests date to when the building housed Meyer Jewelry. The T.B. Rayl Company Building housed the headquarters for the T.B. Rayl Company, which was a hardware and home goods store.
In 1956, The T.B. Rayl Company Building was sold to Meyer Jewelry. Meyer Jewelry spent almost $2 million on renovating the building into their new flagship store and corporate headquarters. Meyer Jewelry used the first floor for sales and display and the upper floors were used for administration offices, manufacturing, production, marketing, design, and storage. Meyer Jewelry had made great progress through the middle of the century, but they eventually ran into some financial concerns.
In 1983, Meyer Jewelry went bankrupt and folded. Shortly after Meyer Jewelry left the building, it was purchased by the Eastern Wig and Hair Company. The Eastern Wig and Hair Company continued to run a beauty supply and wig/weave shop from the building until it was eventually sold again.
In 2014, Eastern Wig and Hair Company sold Quicken Loans magnate, Mr. Dan Gilbert. Mr. Dan Gilbert plans to renovate the former T.B. Rayl Company Building into lofts and retail space…..just like everything else.
As of 2016, the former T.B. Rayl Company Building and former Meyer Jewelry Building continues to sit vacant. Although the plans for the renovations have been released, everyone is still waiting for the work to begin.