Pewabic Pottery: Save Our Chimney

By Jeffrey Buck

If you haven’t already heard, Pewabic Pottery needs your help. Their iconic chimney has fallen into disrepair over the last several years and is in danger of having to be removed if not properly repaired. According to their website, here is the rundown on what needs to be done:

For over 104 years, the iconic 49-foot tall chimney in the heart of the Pewabic Pottery has stood the test of time, but now it needs your help. 

According to experts who traversed both the outside and inside of the chimney to document the damage, as soon as this October, and before our Michigan winter sets in, the outside shell of the chimney must be repaired.

On the outside is where the damage is most evident and daunting:

    • Concrete is separating from the wall on each side of the chimney
    • Concrete and tile is separated from the brick at top of chimney
    • The large and colorful tiles at the top have begun to fall off
    • Tile and concrete material are loose and dangerous at the top of the chimney on the east wall
    • The surrounding roof areas have been severely damaged by the falling concrete and are in need of repair

SPACE

Donations are now being accepted through their support drive and can be made via their website. Pewabic has been a staple to the area for years:

Pewabic Pottery was founded in 1903 by Mary Chase Perry (later Mary Chase Perry Stratton) and her partner, Horace Caulkins (developer of the Revelation Kiln), at the height of the Arts & Crafts movement in America. Pewabic’s first home was a stable on Alfred Street in Detroit. Four years later, Pewabic Pottery moved to a new facility on East Jefferson designed by architect William Buck Stratton in the Tudor Revival style. In 1991, the building (which still houses the Pottery) and its contents were designated a National Historic Landmark and today is Michigan’s only historic pottery.

Under the direction of Mary Chase Perry Stratton, Pewabic Pottery produced nationally renowned vessels, tiles, and architectural ornamentation for public and private installations and later, when the Depression reduced the demand for costlier wares, ceramic jewelry featuring Pewabic’s unique iridescent glazes. Works fabricated by Pewabic Pottery can be seen throughout the United States in such places as the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., the Nebraska State Capitol, the Science Building at Rice University in Houston, and the Herald Square installation commissioned by the New York Metro Transit Authority. Stratton is a member of the Michigan’s Women Hall of Fame.

Continue to read more about the history of Pewabic by clicking here.

SPACE

The drive aims to raise $125,000 that would cover costs of restoring the chimney:

 The total cost of restoration for the Save Our Chimney Drive is $125,000.  We need big and small donations to pay for this most necessary repair.  No donation is too small.  Click here to DONATE NOW or download our Pledge Form  to make a donation. As pewabic is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, all donations are tax-deductible.

In Mary Chase Perry Stratton’s autobiography she wrote of the chimney:

“It was not to be a mere factory stack with its flag of common toil rising into the air.  From its tall height were to rise vapors from the sculptured forms in the kilns below; and furthermore, would indicate to all comers the intention and effort which were dependent upon its kindly office.”

VIRTUAL FUNDRAISING CHIMNEY
As more donations are received, we will fill in more tiles on our virtual chimney.  Check back often to see how your generosity is helping!

SPACE

Let’s not let another piece of history fall victim to the wrecking ball. Even if it’s just a little please take the time and donate to help save the chimney!

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About Jeffrey S. Buck

I'm currently a Project Manager at Cypress Partners, LLC in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. I graduated from Wayne State University in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism. Looking to broaden my view of the world, I spent a semester abroad studying at the University of Salford, a Greater Manchester University in England. I enjoy doing an array of activities, including following Detroit sports teams, SCUBA diving, traveling, reading, playing tennis, hand-written letters and going to the movies. I am the co-founder of the Woodward Spine, a blog about Detroit and its surrounding communities. The Woodward Spine aims to inform its readers about relevant news and events through creative and informative posts in these core areas: news, opinion, entertainment, history, sports and development. The Woodward Spine serves the tri-county metro Detroit area, concentrating mainly on the communities that lie along the Woodward corridor.
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