Sure, you can walk into the Guardian Building in Downtown Detroit and realize that you've just entered a impeccably preserved example of Art Deco architecture, but what you really need, if you want the inside scoop, is a personal tour from the building's concierge that most of the tenants know by name—Christopher Roddy. For years he has been manning the revolving doors at the entrance to this "cathedral to finance" on the corner of Congress and Woodrow, and passing along his knowledge of the building.
I had the opportunity to spend 30 minutes with Christopher on my recent trip to Detroit and was given a basement to rooftop tour that included the massive basement vault that once held most of Detroit's fortunes, the impressive original 1929 board room, and a skyline view from one of the vacated offices on one of the highest floors. But if you only make it to the lobby, you'll stand there, like I did, in stunned silence as one of the most spectacular examples of Art Deco architecture surrounded me. And if that didn't fill your need to experience Detroit's finest buildings, there is the Fischer Building and the Penobscot as well.
Thanks Christopher for a great tour!