Forgotten Detroit
Fort Shelby Hotel
Fort Shelby
"Detroit shall rise again"
Lobby graffiti.


The Fort Shelby has been one of the more enjoyable buildings to both visit and research. Although the Statler and the Book-Cadillac were more lavish and massive their renovations and ruination did not leave much of their former selves. However, the Fort Shelby's lobby and ballroom still exist much as they had. The upper floors also retain more molding and have a unique feature they only share with the Lee Plaza, servidors.

Like most buildings the Fort Shelby is in good condition in areas while in poor condition in others. Generally the tower is in better shape then the 1917 building. The Fort Shelby's floor structure appears to be more solid then the Statler's and the water damage is not much worse then was found in the Book-Cadillac. Given that the Book-Cadillac is being renovated, I don't see why structurally the Fort Shelby could not.

Two years ago it was announced that the hotel would be renovated and brought back to hotel service. Since that time very little has been heard regarding these plans. I hope that current economics is only slowing the process down but fear that the plan will not materialize. A renovated Fort Shelby could be just as important to Detroit as the Book-Cadillac project is. Hopefully the city, developers and preservationist will select it as the next big project.

Copyright 1999-2003, David Kohrman

Last updated on October 12, 2003