Our Building

Lying at the heart of the Data Behind Bars project is Detroit’s storied “McGraw” precinct building. Historical records maintained by the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit Public Library, and the Burton Collection tell a vivid story of the building, from its construction in 1930 through a world war, a baby boom, and the infamous 1967 riots. Here, we present an “abridged” version, to give you a small taste of the many tales of the city of Detroit imbued in the walls of the 6th Precinct as much as the brick and mortar.

Images shown below include newspaper clippings, blueprints, and other historical documents.

Groundbreaking and Construction

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Great Depression and World War II

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1950s and ’60s

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Detroit Riots of 1967

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The Final Years

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Closure and Decline

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Rescue and Restoration

Having been picked to the bone for eight years by scrappers, looters, and squatters, the historic McGraw Precinct seemed set to languish in disrepair until the wrecking ball came. That’s where we came in. RT Software Systems, the network support and secure cloud computing small business behind Data Behind Bars, penned a proposal to the City of Detroit to put McGraw to good use. The plan was a project that’s equal parts archaeology, economic stimulus, community outreach, and high-tech investment in Southwest Detroit, a borough that’s seen better days, but is prime for its comeback.

After much deliberation and negotiation, the Data Behind Bars project was born in 2013, and has made great strides since then. We invite you to follow along at our Facebook page, and to get involved if you’d like. Research on the building is ongoing, so check back often for more information as we find it.

If you or a family member have experience at the 6th precinct, as an officer, employee, or community member (or an inmate, maybe?), please reach out to us, as we’d love to hear your story!