Detroit Arsenal in Dearborn Postcards

The Detroit Arsenal in Dearborn operated from 1833 until 1875. As a number of arsenal structures still survived into the early 1900s, they were popular targets for postcard photographers. Strangely no early 1900s postcard of the Commandant’s Quarters could be located.

The Armory was the first arsenal structure constructed in Dearborn starting back in 1833. As a military building it was used for storing weapons and other purposes. For a few years after the arsenal closed, the building was as a theater auditorium. Eventually it became the woolen mill complex known as Arna Mills before burning down in a spectacular fire in 1910.

The Detroit Arsenal Sutler Shop was a civilian run shop that sold goods to the military and military personnel. This postcard of the structure at the northeast corner of Monroe and Garrison probably dates from the 1920s. The building was expanded in the 1960s and is now a doctor’s office.

In the 1880s, the former Detroit Arsenal Blacksmith Shop and Carpenter Shop were connected with a large two story structure. During the early 1900s, that facility was turned into an automobile factory for the short lived Detroit – Dearborn Motor Company. The former factory was torn down in the 1940s for parking.

The former Detroit Arsenal Saddler Shop in the front of the above postcards served as Dearborn Township Hall from 1893 until 1926. Behind it are the former Detroit Arsenal Blacksmith and Carpenter Shop along with an 1880s structure built to connect them. The Saddler Shop was eventually demolished in the late 1930s for a Kresge Store.

The above postcards show the McFadden Ross House around 1907-15. This structure was originally the Detroit Arsenal Powder Magazine which was completed back in 1839. The Ross family acquired the building from the Federal Government in 1883 and renovated it into a home. Years after these postcards, the Ross family expanded the home to its current size during the 1920s.