History of the Globe Building

black and white photo of the dilapidated Globe Building, with broken windows and graffiti

The Globe Building is significant for its role in the maritime history of the Great Lakes as a manufacturer of marine steam engines for freight and passenger vessels. Detroit Dry Dock Engine Works – and Detroit Shipbuilding Company, which acquired the company in 1899 – built a complex of buildings on the site of what is now the Outdoor Adventure Center.

Six buildings made up the engine-building plant of the Dry Dock Engine Works. The first of the buildings, a steel-frame and brick machine shop, was erected in 1892 at the corner of Orleans and Atwater streets. After the Detroit Shipbuilding Company dissolved in the late 1920s, the former engine-building plant was used by a small stove manufacturer, by the Detroit Edison Company for appliance repair, and lastly by a machinery wholesale firm, the Globe Trading Company. The Globe Trading Company had its sign on the building as early as 1966.

During the 1930s, the Detroit Police Department used Dry Dock #2 as a boat launch for the capture of rumrunners.  Henry Ford worked at Detroit Dry Dock Engine Works from 1880-1882 as an apprentice machinist, learning the skills associated with his first love, steam-powered engines.  Later he would turn to experiments with gasoline engines and their ability to power a horseless carriage.

To learn more about the history of the Globe Building and Detroit Dry Dock Engine Works complex, visit http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/hh/item/mi0680/.