El Moore History

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El moore exterior august 2013.jpg


Historic Details and Links

About the El Moore

The El Moore is an apartment building located at 624 Alexandrine in the Midtown section of Detroit. Designed by Almon C. Varney, it was built in 1898 and was most recently purchased by Tom and Peggy Brennan. It is currently undergoing renovation and will open by 2016 as the El Moore Lodge, a combination apartment rental and nightly rental building.

Early History

  • when it was built
  • the architect
  • architural style
  • 9 luxury units with maid's quarters in the back

Changes in the Neighborhood

  • changes in neighborhood (population boom, expanding working class, deterioration of neighborhood)
  • moving from 9 units to multiple
  • abandoned

Recent History

  • purchase by Tom and Peggy
  • plans (including El Moore Greens)

Historic Details and Links

El Moore Doorway.jpg


Address: 624 Alexandrine, Detroit map (Pre-1920 Address: 144-146 Alexandrine)


Constructed in 1898 by Almon C. Varney, architect, of A.C. Varney & Company, the El Moore is a uniquely attractive example of Spanish Medieval or Late Gothic Revival architecture and is notable for its sandstonestone façade (one of the few examples of brownstone architecture that exists in the city) with pointed-arched windows and a large turret on one corner.


Almon C. Varney, architect

Other buildings designed by A.C.Varney:

The Oriental Hotel on Library Street, demolished sometime in the 1950's.

The Madison-Lenox Hotel on Madison Street was located about one block from the Detroit Opera House. It was demolished in 2005.

Ohio Architect & Builder, A.C. Varney (1904): Trade journal detailing projects undertaken by A.C. Varney; the refreshment pavilion at Tashmoo Park (Harsens Island), two apartment buildings and two homes at various locations in the city.


A brief biography of A.C. Varney in History of Michigan, by Charles Moore (1915).

City of Detroit 1701-1922, Lemuel Foster Lemuel Foster, at one time a resident of the El Moore, was an early settler of Ann Arbor and his family donated some of the land that became the University of Michigan.



Images From the Neighborhood:

Sanborn Maps - Details about the El Moore and her neighbors

  • 250K lived in Midtown in 1940’s, about 35K today
  • Sanborn maps – for fire insurance – reveal how the neighborhood evolved
  • 1879 All lots built upon and most are single family dwellings
  • 1919 El Moore building exist, more multifamily buildings surrounding, populations expansion to 1 million mark
  • 1950 Detroit peak 2 million in population, multifamily and commercial use buildings surrounding El Moore building
  • 1961 Mixed use neighborhood
  • 1977 – 2002 disinvestment around the El Moore


El Moore surroundings 1897 - 1961
El Moore surroundings 1977 - 2002

Polk's City Directory Pages - Names of residents of the El Moore

The Polk Directory lists all addresses in the city and the names of the residents. It's interesting to see who lived in the El Moore, and how, when it was built in 1898, it consisted of 8 separate flats. At some point around 1917 or 1918, the flats were subdivided into individual rooms allowing for a much larger number of residents in the building. Essentially, the El Moore went from being a middle class residence (flats with maid's quarters) to a working class residence in which people would rent a single room and share bath and kitchen facilities.