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German American Bank (est 1853) Griswold in Detroit c1911.
From 2011 comment.
That Model T Ford is a rare 1911 "Torpedo Runabout" from about the middle of 1911. Early models had a square gas tank which was superseded by the round one on this car. Not all that popular when they were new, they are rarely seen and treasured by collectors today. Possibly the sportiest Model T made. Most 1911 Ts were painted a very dark, almost black, blue. It would not be until the 1914 Fords that you could get any color so long as it was black. Red, green, and grey were common in the very early Model Ts.
The First State Bank Building is a four-story, flat-roofed bank building with a steel frame faced with limestone. The building was designed by Albert Kahn and erected in 1924-25. First State Bank began life in 1871 as the "German American Bank" with offices on Larned; the bank moved at least twice more before building this structure
The main entrance of the building is surrounded with carved marble depicting urns, animals, and foliage. The building is located at the corner of Griswold and Lafayette Streets, and has decorative facades facing both streets. Each facade has three-story Ionic columns supporting the attic story, on the upper story, double-hung windows are grouped in pairs, separated by elaborate plaques. A parapet runs across the roofline
John S. Gray became a prominent Detroit businessman and ran or owned several firms in the city. As was common for businessman in that late Nineteenth Century era, he also performed civic service and was a member of the city’s library board. By the end of the Nineteenth Century, although a Scotsmen, he was president of the German-American Bank
John S. Gray’s nephew was Alexander Y. Malcomson, a Detroit coal dealer who had known Henry Ford for many years. I believe they had both worked at the Detroit Engine Works on Atwater Street.
would be successful in the vehicle business. By 1900, Henry Ford was running the Henry Ford Company but the bankers who invested in that firm were very unhappy with him. By 1902, those investors brought in Henry Leland to look over the business. Eventually the bankers forced Ford out of the company and then Leland created the Cadillac Motor Company from what had been Ford’s firm. In about 1902, Malcomson and Henry Ford formed a partnership to manufacturing cars. Lacking capital they had to buy component parts from suppliers, parts that Ford then assembled into cars. Very quickly Ford found himself owing a tremendous amount to the Dodge Brothers who supplied parts. He had no hope of paying those bills so the future of this firm looked bleak. Malcomson proposed that a corporation be created using $100,000 to be obtained from investors. It was not easy to find investors. Henry Ford did not have a great record as an entrepreneur. Malcomson convinced his uncle, John S. Gray, to put up $10,500 for a 10.5 percent share of the new Ford Motor Company. Gray agreed and, on July 16, 1903, legal papers were drawn up by Horace Rackham for the incorporation of the Ford Motor Company. This was accomplished in the offices of Malcomson’s coal firm then located where Hart Plaza is now located. A state of Michigan Historic Marker commemorates that site, not far from where Antoine Cadillac arrived two centuries previously. John S. Gray was elected president of the Ford Motor Company with Henry Ford serving as Vice-President.
From 2011 notes: On the left side of the building is Malcomson Coal. Alexander Y. Malcomson was the Coal King of Detroit and he was one of the few people who was crazy enough to back Henry Ford in 1902. After he had become successful, Ford eventually squeezed Malcomson out of the auto business – but it all started with coal money.