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The University Club

1931, architect William Kapp. (also designed the Players Club just down Jefferson from University Club)

From the Detroit News:

The University Club was founded in 1899 in Swan’s Chop House at the northwest corner of Woodward and Larned. George P. Codd, a University of Michigan baseball pitcher, congressman and mayor, was the first president. After one year at Swan’s, they moved to the old Walker block for nine years, then to the Walker residence at Fort and Shelby until 1913. The club then moved to the McMillan mansion at Jefferson and Russell, the former home of U.S. Senator James McMillan, which had been built during the 1870’s. During this period, ladies were only allowed in on New Year’s Eve.

The members built their final home in 1931 on the same site on East Jefferson. It included squash and racquetball courts, leaded glass, antlered trophy heads, and the dining room: a two story great hall. There were 20 bedrooms on the third floor for permanent occupants and 4 for visitors. The main entrance was on Russell, but the ladies’ entrance was through a ‘delightful garden’ on Jefferson.

Members had to have graduated from a University or other establishment of higher learning although in 1985, in an effort to attract new members, the club was opened to those who had completed two years of college. Early members included Dexter Ferry and Albert Russell, and the club was the location for many blue-blood bachelor parties and society wedding receptions.

Residents of the guest rooms in 1962 included two brokers, a manufacturer, several business executives, a group of lawyers and a Chrysler Personnel chief. The first woman, Susan Reck, a stockbroker, was admitted in 1978.

The University Club went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1992.


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4 Responses to The University Club

  • I worked as Chef at the Club, over thirty years ago .I found in the news paper, today .’got a tear in my eye!

    Remebering -the beautiful Clock on the stair landing,and the wonderful,
    Library !
    So Sad !!

  • How could the club go broke if it owned the building? Usually these clubs stupidly rented space that leads to their demise. It is sad to see this grand structure abandoned to fading memories.

  • We were there today taking pictures of this amazing building. It has gone through a fire and it looks very sad now. You might want to revisit it. It should be photographed and remembered – in all it’s lives.

  • The antenna on the chimney is the first I’ve seen in a looooooong time.