“The new armory opened in 1930, and was used as both a training facility and civic event site. The indoor drill floor was used for dances, USO mixers, auto shows, and political and sporting events. In 1932, future heavyweight champion Joe Louis fought his first career bout. With the onset of the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration funded numerous artistic additions to the armory, including three murals, plaster carvings, and extensive wood carvings; this collection of WPA art is the largest collection of federally-funded Depression-era artwork of any building in the state…
The Detroit Naval Armory is a limestone structure with four main sections: a vestibule, a drill hall, an office / penthouse section, and a company drill hall. The building mixes Art Moderne and Art Deco influences, and contains a large array of Depression-era WPA art by artists such as John Tabaczuk, Edgar Yaeger, David Fredenthal, and Gustave Hildebrand, all with nautical themes. The building faces East Jefferson; the entrance is heavily decorated in military and naval themes using Pewabic tiles. In front of the building is a semi-circular drive encircling a flagpole erected in 1943 and a large Navy anchor from the USS Yantic, a Civil War gunboat whose hull is buried in a filled-in boat slip in Gabriel Richard Park.”
The Armory is now commonly known as the R. Thornton Brodhead Armory.
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