not all those who wander are lost

Hey – calling all cars: I need help with this place. Im researching the bejeeberz out of this thing for some friends, and theres lots I need input on.

Here is the standard AIA Detroit data on this building:

3975 Cass Avenue

In 1925 the adjoining house was purchased from Robert and Jennie Brown and this Art Deco Egyptian Revival building was added. The William Hamilton Funeral Home (now located in Birmingham on Maple ~df) converted the house to a funeral parlor, and added this gorgeous Deco “mortuary chapel” around 1930.

Heres what I am asking for help with, the below bas reliefs adorn the front of the mortuary chapel building. Data on the architect is missing everywhere I look, and I am trying to figure out who these figures represent. They are obviously from several ancient civilizations, but it seems to me that they must represent actual people in the medical or funerary professions. Just curious who they are, its a great detail thats so easy to overlook.

Assyrian or Babylonian ? Looks like Cuneiform writing.

Obviously this one is Egyptian. Hieroglyphic writing. Imhotep ?

Looks Greek to me. No really, looks Greek.

Definitely Roman with Latin.

Certified Mortician ?

AIW or anyone, what are more in depth ways to look for the architect name ? If AIA didnt put it in the book Im wondering how hard is it to find that. I did contact the current day Hamilton Funeral Home to see if they have archives or data on the buildings. We’ll see how that goes when I hear back.

Looking for old photos too.

First Congregational Church

Excuse me, thats HISTORIC First Congregational Church. Another gorgeous red sandstone church thats disintegrating slowly. Done in stunning Victorian Romanesque (Byzantine details, Romanesque structure).

The towering campanile is topped with a gold statue of Archangel Uriel.

Rosette stained glass on south face

Castle like windows on campanile

This is one of many famous buildings in Detroit that were the essential “last stop” on the historical Underground Railroad.

Next stop was Canada and freedom.

One nickname of this building is “church of the seven arches”..Because it has seven arches surrounding the porch.

Okay, the little one is a trefoil, the next one is a quadrafoil..What are the other two called ? Hahahaha !

My favorite view – it looks like they converted the church into a “Churchs Chicken”. Bwahahahahaha !

10 Responses to Mortuary Chapel