THE CROWN INN BUILDING

378 - 396 DEVONSHIRE Rd.

ARCHITECT - Mason & Rice, Detroit

Built:1892-1893

 

Hiram Walker commissioned his architects to design a hotel to accommodate his business visitors arriving by rail. The Crown Inn was built directly across from the beautiful Lake Erie & Detroit River Railroad depot, also by Mason & Rice, completed just two years earlier, but demolished by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad in 1957.

Twin gables surmount angled oriel windows, and three dormers illuminate the attic which once housed hotel staff. The original slate roof was removed in 1991. Hotel rooms have been converted to apartments, and commercial units occupy the former office and dining room. Regrettably, the front facade was sandblasted in 1973, resulting in significant deterioration of the brick surface, permitting moisture to penetrate causing further spalling during freeze-thaw cycles.

To understand this effect, one need only examine the untouched side facades which remain in good condition. The Queen Victoria diamond Jubilee fountain (in the early photo) was donated to the Town by the Walkers in 1897, and moved to Willisteadís grounds in 1958 after the beautiful train station was razed.

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