By 1880, Peter Dederichs Jr. (1856-1924) was working out of his newly established architectural office in Detroit, designing "Churches, School Houses, Dwellings, Stores &c., at reasonable rates." Dederichs became especially known around Michigan for his ecclesiastical structures, designing a number of Detroit churches. Around 1885, jewelry merchant and watch repairman Engelbert Grimm hired Dederichs to design a jewelry store for him, to be built on Michigan Avenue in Detroit.
Dederichs made five architectural drawings when planning the new Grimm Jewelry Store: the front of the building, or façade; floor plans of each of the three floors (first, second, and cellar); and a side view showing the interior, called a section. In addition to the drawings, a "Specification of Labor and Materials" document was written, which provided the exact details Dederichs desired for completion of the building. Even minute details were spelled out in these plans: the width of the mortar joints between the bricks was not to exceed 3/8 of an inch; Silver Lake sash cord was to be used in the operation of the windows; and a Bickelhoupt brand skylight model No. 30 was to be installed above the second floor dining room. The document constantly referred to the drawings of the building, which indicated the location and dimensions of rooms, doors, and chimneys, as well as the decorative detailing to be on the façade. For the contractors who constructed each part of the building, Dederichs' attention to detail left little to wonder about. When the builders completed their work, a modest yet stylish commercial building—complete with second floor living quarters for Grimm and his family—took its place along the bustling commercial thoroughfare of Detroit's Michigan Avenue.
Together, the architect and builders had created their work of art: the Grimm Jewelry Store—a little jewel of a building.
Laurie Turkawski, Intern