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Horace H. Rackham Education Memorial Building | by Brian Callahan (
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Horace H. Rackham Education Memorial Building

© Luxgnos Photography / Brian Callahan 2012 All rights reserved.


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The Rackham Building was named after Horace Rackham, a local philanthropist and an early investor in Ford Motor Company. The building opened in 1941, serving as the headquarters for the Engineering Society of Detroit and the University of Michigan Extension Service.


It was designed by the firm of Harley and Ellington Architects and Engineers and is faced with white Georgia marble with black granite accents. The windows are cast bronze and the exterior features sculptures by Detroit artist Marshall Fredericks. The structure is 404 ft (123 m) in length and between 65 ft (20 m) and 150 ft (46 m) in depth.


In the central section holds a 1,000 seat auditorium on the main level and a ballroom with a capacity of 700 on the lower level. The University of Michigan occupies the western wing with three classrooms, a lecture hall and studio classroom on the lower level. Offices for the Extension Center and Institute for Public and Social Administration are on the main level along with a lounge, and three classrooms. The second floor contains study rooms, a library and seminar rooms.



McGregor Memorial Conference Center

The Engineering Society of Detroit occupied the eastern wing until 1994. Its space included six bowling lanes, activities room and billiards room on the lower level, a writing room, dining room, 300-seat auditorium and lounge on the main floor and the Society's administration offices and library on the second floor.


The main auditorium and ballroom are in need of renovation and have not been used in several years. Wayne State University's psychological clinic occupies some of the space vacated by the Engineering Society.


On the wall facing Warren Avenue is a trio of 13 ft (4.0 m) high figures sculpted by Marshall Fredericks representing science, education and mankind. The figures are largely hidden due to the construction of a parking garage south of the building in the 1980s.


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Taken on August 17, 2012