The Henry Ford
Henry Ford Museum Greenfield Village IMAX Theatre Benson Ford Research Center Ford Rouge Factory Tour
Explore & Learn

pic archive  

Architect Peter Dederichs' 1885 architectural drawing of Grimm Jewelry Store.


September 2006

The Art of Building: Grimm Jewelry Store

Every artist has his tools.  A painter uses paint, brushes, and canvas; a sculptor, clay or stone.  Pens, paper, and a straightedge help an architect capture his creative vision in architectural drawings.  But unlike a painter or sculptor, the architect must rely on others to make his two-dimensional sketches into the intended three-dimensional reality.  So, in addition to sketches, the architect must also convey to carpenters, bricklayers and other tradesmen how to construct his building by providing detailed plans about the installation of items such as doors, windows, and decoration.

Detroit architect Peter Dederichs Jr. conveyed his vision in just this way when he designed a jewelry store for Engelbert Grimm in the 1880s.


MORE:  The Art of Building: Grimm Jewelry Store

This photo of Grimm Jewelry Store at 613 Michigan Avenue in Detroit was taken in 1926. Engelbert Grimm's store was moved to Greenfield Village in 1940. ID.188-8257

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

Copyright © 2015 The Henry Ford
The Henry Ford is an AAM accredited institution. The complex is an independent, non-profit, educational
institution not affiliated with the Ford Motor Company or the Ford Foundation.