Detroit Central Market
Originally constructed in 1860 in downtown Detroit, the vegetable shed from the Detroit Central Market is making its debut at Greenfield Village.
After a storied 160-year history that included commerce, near-demolition and then reconstruction, the Detroit Central Market is the first permanent building addition to Greenfield Village since 2000. Guest can engage with Village presenters to learn more about the historic market's significance.
Countless stories await. Join us as we explore Detroit's historic public market - a local food environment that flourished only briefly. This history sets a stage for ongoing conversations about how we can envision a more sustainable food future.
In 1860, the City of Detroit invested in a new permanent building for the Detroit Central Market to house vendors in the open-air market behind City Hall, referred to as the vegetable building or shed. From 1861 to 1893, farmers, market gardeners, florists and nurserymen sold their produce in this building from rented stalls, marking over 30 years of commerce in its original environment.
The new building captured the exuberance and optimism of Detroit as it grew from a frontier fort and outpost to an important culture and industry-rich city. A “useful and beautiful” market building in the city’s central square was important in framing this image. Few buildings survive from this first era of Detroit’s growth. This one survived because city officials moved it out of the city center, thus preserving a rare 19th-century market structure.
In 1894, Detroit’s Parks & Boulevards commission moved the market shed to Belle Isle, where it remained for 110 years and served a variety of purposes, including a vehicle and horse shelter, riding stable and more. Although the shed served as a monument to public life, it was scheduled to be demolished before The Henry Ford acquired it in 2003.
The Henry Ford purchased the building, dismantled it and moved it from Belle Isle into storage. Fundraising, research and development, and building preservation continued until 2020 when reconstruction officially began in Greenfield Village.
The Detroit Central Market project sheds light on how museums collect, preserve and interpret history, illustrating how a 162-year-old structure can be recast to serve the next generation.
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