To say that the rehabilitation of DPD's former Sixth Precinct is a major undertaking would be putting it mildly. We definitely have our work cut out for us - tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and thousands of man-hours stand between us and our vision. That doesn't slow us down one bit; rather, it encourages us, and presses us to succeed.
We make progress towards our grand opening every day, in one way or another. You can check us out on Facebook or follow our news page here, and if you wish, you are invited to take part in the project yourself.
A detailed, 14-page outline of the project and its goals was published in February - click here to view it.
Former 6th Precinct "McGraw Station", Detroit
The Former DPD 6th Precinct Station (also commonly known as the "McGraw Station", the "Sixth Precinct", and the Former "Gang Squad Headquarters") is a historic building located at 6840 McGraw Avenue, in Detroit, Michigan. Constructed and opened in 1930, it served as the police station for the Detroit Police Department's sixth police precinct for over 56 years, covering a portion of Southwest Detroit Neighborhoods from 1930 until 1986. In that year, station operations for the 6th Precinct were moved to a building located at 11450 Warwick Street, where they remain to present day.
Once the building was vacated in 1986, a division of the Detroit Special Crimes Section, known as "The Gang Squad", set up headquarters and remained in operation there for over 19 years, until the building was closed due to budget cuts in October of 2005. During this time, the building was commonly referred to as "Gang Squad Headquarters."
After the Gang Squad left in 2005, the building was quickly attacked by scrappers and vandals. It sat vacant and in disrepair for almost 9 years, until 2013, when the current owner, Ed Steele, negotiated a purchase with the City of Detroit, promising repair jobs, and later, High Tech jobs and Urban Renewal as part of the purchase agreement.
The McGraw Station was designed by the architecture firm of Van Leyen, Schilling & Keough and is considered to be of the Beaux-Arts architectural style. Originally conceived as an economic stimulus project to create jobs, Police Commissioner Thomas C. Wilcox, who later became Wayne County Sheriff, conducted a groundbreaking ceremony on June 19, 1930. The building permit on file with the City of Detroit Building Department is permit number 70869, dated April 21, 1930, and the project construction cost was listed as $83,100. The address was erroneously listed on the permit as 6850 McGraw Avenue. All official references to the precinct list the address as 6840 McGraw Avenue. The original blueprints are in the public domain and remain on file at the City of Detroit. They are complete with materials requirements, construction methods required, and all dimensions and intended purposes.
The station was directly involved in two incidents of civil unrest - it was breached during the 1943 Detroit race riot, where police officers were forced to vacate, and prisoners were set free. Then, on July 25, 1967, the station came under attack again, this time from sniper fire, during the 1967 Detroit riot. Members of the National Guard were photographed while returning fire from the front lobby. A photograph of the building lobby and the incident can be found online at the Walter P. Reuther Library site.
In popular culture
Information concerning deaths that have occurred at the station and within the precinct neighborhood came to light through news stories found in media archives, and directly from a number of first person accounts given by former officers who have worked at the precinct over the years. Those accounts led to public interest from a number of Paranormal Investigation Groups located in Detroit and neighboring States. Those groups were permitted safe entry to the building numerous times for investigations they conducted between 2014 and 2018. In 2019, the Travel Channel produced an episode of their program "Most Terrifying Places" and in 2020, an episode of their program "Haunted Case Files" that included the 6th Precinct. Both episodes presented information related to Paranormal Activity reported by a number of visiting paranormal groups that had performed investigations at the site.
The building was listed by the Michigan Film Office as a potential filming location for potential cinema or video productions.
Restoration and Rescue activity
Since 2013, the present owner has been engaging a mixture of underemployed, unemployed, unskilled, homeless and "at-risk" members of the local community to assist with cleanup, material handling, security, repair and restoration efforts. Those efforts have been significant and, as of January 2021, have been taking place continuously for over 7 years.
The 6th Precinct McGraw Station consists of a basement and three additional levels. The building measures 26,274 square feet. The Jail Cell Area is being repurposed to become a Secure Cloud Computing Data Center. The top level, which was the gymnasium and consists of a regulation size half-court basketball court, is being transformed to a shared workspace for Technology Oriented Businesses. The basement has a shooting range that is being restored and returned to operational status. The main level is being repurposed to provide meeting space and retail space for a coffee shop, small retail shops and general office space.
A tribute room containing significant historical artifacts from the Pontiac Silverdome, including the entire floor being carpeted with a portion of artificial turf containing the actual 40 yard line markings, is planned. This is to honor the fact that functional elements of the project (by way of example, the 150kw Diesel Standby Generator) were won at auction and removed from the Silverdome before it was demolished. An artifact display containing numerous items found during the restoration effort is also set to be created using the entire original Precinct Commander's office. This is being done to highlight the wide-ranging collection of genuine documents found from every decade that the station operated, from the 1930s to the 2000s.
Other Pages of Interest
Most Terrifying Places - https://www.travelchannel.com/shows/most-terrifying-places/episodes/horror-behind-the-walls
Haunted Case Files - https://www.travelchannel.com/shows/haunted-case-files/episodes/ghost-cops
National Guard sniper incident - https://projects.lib.wayne.edu/12thstreetdetroit/items/show/219
Thomas C. Wilcox details - http://politicalgraveyard.com/geo/MI/WY-officials.html
Beaux-Art architectural style discussion - https://www.archinform.net/stich/1937.htm
Detroiturbex.com - Sixth Precinct Police Station - http://www.detroiturbex.com/content/healthandsafety/mcgraw/index.html
Here is a reference to a 3rd instance of civil unrest/attack from the Free Press in 1979: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/32930313/sniper-6th-precinct/
Detroit Free press:
Fox 2 Detroit:
Page 84 - "McGraw Station" -