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Historic Detroit Building Being Demolished For Outdoor Adventure Center

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(Credit: Mike Campbell/WWJ Newsradio 950)

(Credit: Mike Campbell/WWJ Newsradio 950)

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DETROIT (WWJ) - A historic building on Detroit’s skyline is coming down to make room for a new Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center.

The historic 1892 Detroit Ship Building Co., more commonly known as the Globe Trading Co. building, has sat empty at Atwater and Orleans streets along the Detroit River for several years.

The building at one point operated as the Dry Dock Engine Works where boats were constructed, including both the St. Clair and Columbia Boblo Island ferry boats, according to Wikipedia. Thousands of workers have walked through the building’s doors, including a young Henry Ford.

While the building has strong roots in the history of Detroit, it’s no longer safe, according to Scott Tonack from Ypsilanti-based 21st Century Salvage, which has been contracted to tear the structure down.

“This building was ready to come down,” he said. “As you can see, the bricks are crumbling on the building, the integrity of the steel in the building is shot. It’s almost ready to come down by itself.”

GALLERY: View Demolition Photos

Tonack said the company has already taken down a small portion of the structure, which came with great ease.

“This portion of the building here, we took down in four working days. Typically a building that’s structurally sound would take double that time, at least,” he said.

Part of the structure is being preserved however, to be transformed into the Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center, set to open in 2014. The planned center will expand the nearby William G. Milliken State Park & Harbor — Michigan’s only urban state park.

According to the state Department of Natural Resources, the Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center will provide visitors with opportunities to see, feel, hear and touch Michigan’s outdoors. The agency said the center will serve as a gateway to introduce youth and adults to activities that can be experienced at Michigan’s parks, beaches, trails and harbors.

Through exhibits, displays and simulators, visitors will be able to “experience the thrill of reeling in the big fish that almost got away, climb high above the treetops and see how a fire tower keeps the forest safe, and explore ways to help the environment and conduct experiments involving soil, water and other natural resources.”

Learn more about the project at www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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