Michigan in Detroit

The relief over the right pier signifies education and the relief over the left signifies engineering. They are nods to the reliefs’ dual recipients, U-M and the Engineering Society of Detroit. The university recently acquired full ownership of this building. (Photo courtesy of Bentley Historical Library)

Close to the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Public Library in downtown Detroit is the University of Michigan’s Rackham Educational Memorial. Built in 1941, the building is noteworthy for its reliefs crafted by acclaimed Michigan sculptor Marshall Fredericks. The facade reliefs, given equally to U-M and the Engineering Society of Detroit, represent learning and engineering, over the right and left piers of the main entrance, respectively. Fredericks also sculpted reliefs in numerous LSA buildings and the American eagle at Michigan Stadium, a memorial spearheaded by legendary U-M athletic director Fielding Yost, remembering all university men and women who sacrificed their lives for their country.

— Adapted from “Rackham (Detroit) Facade Bas Reliefs”


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