Commercial Building 52 Monroe, Detroit Michigan
The structure is a four-story (plus basement) commercial building constructed in brick masonry in 1852. It measures 20' in width and 100' deep on the first three stories, but is only 75 feet deep on the fourth floor. The rear 25' of the third story was added in 1915. Its design is identical to the structure at 58 Monroe. Although most of the front facade has been covered by a metal sign, the remnants of cornice-level decoration survive, notably a line of dentils over a course of diagonally-laid brick. Evidence of the cast-iron lintels with urn and scroll motifs that originally appeared over the windows is visible in the upper right hand corner of the building.
Hiram R. Johnson (1825-1894), a prominant Detroit businessman, bought the real estate where this building stands in 1852 and erected a series of commercial buildings known as the Johnson Block. The architect is unknown. Tenants in the two first floor spaces have included a series of saloons from 1888 until 1912, followed by a soft drink shop and restaurant in 1913-1928. Several clothing stores and shoe shops occupied the building from the mid-1930s until the late 1970s, when the building was vacated. The tenants on the upper floors cannot be identified.