Riverwalk Hotel Detroit

Riverwalk Hotel Detroit
Parke-Davis Research Laboratory
Roberts Riverwalk Hotel Detroit
Location: Detroit, Michigan
 United States
Coordinates: 42°20′13″N 83°0′52″W / 42.33694°N 83.01444°W / 42.33694; -83.01444Coordinates: 42°20′13″N 83°0′52″W / 42.33694°N 83.01444°W / 42.33694; -83.01444
Built: 1873, 1902
Architect: Donaldson and Meier, Albert Kahn
Architectural style: Romanesque Revival
Governing body: Private
NRHP Reference#: 76001039
Significant dates
Added to NRHP: May 11, 1976[1]
Designated NHL: May 11, 1976[2]

The Roberts Riverwalk Hotel and Residence Detroit, formerly the Parke-Davis Research Laboratory also once known as Building 55-Detroit Research,[3] is located on Joseph Campau Street at the Detroit River, in Detroit, Michigan. The former research facility was redeveloped as a boutique luxury hotel located on the Detroit International Riverfront.[4] The building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.[1]

Rear of the Parke-Davis lab, now the entrance.
Door facing Detroit River.



Parke-Davis moved its facilities to this location along the Detroit River in the 1870s to take advantage of the transportation provided by the river and nearby rail lines.[5] The company eventually built 26 still-extant buildings in the area; the Park-Davis campus as a whole, now known as the Stroh River Place is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. However, the most significant structure in the group, the Parke-Davis Research Laboratory, is individually recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

The Research Laboratory was built in 1902 after Parke-Davis relocated the Detroit Boat Club to Belle Isle.[6] The Detroit architectural firm of Donaldson & Meier designed the original building; later additions were designed by Albert Kahn.[6] The building is a three-story brick building measuring approximately 120' x 40', and is typical example of public architecture of the period.[3]


This building was the first industrial research laboratory in the U.S. established for the specific purpose of conducting pharmacological research, inaugurating the commercial pure science approach which has driven the rapid development of pharmaceutical technology.[5][7]

Later history and current use

The research laboratory was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.[2][8] In 1979, Parke-Davis sold its property in Detroit, including the Research Laboratory, to the Stroh family (of Stroh Brewery Company).[6]

The complex has been redeveloped for mixed use. The laboratory was eventually remodeled and served as a hotel and residence. National Park Service staff had recommended withdrawal of landmark status in 2002 due to loss of the building's historic integrity during the conversion.[9]

The Roberts Riverwalk Hotel & Residence Detroit opened May 2011.[10]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreg/docs/All_Data.html. 
  2. ^ a b "Parke-Davis Research Laboratory". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=1627&ResourceType=Building. Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  3. ^ a b Parke-Davis Research Laboratory from the state of Michigan
  4. ^ Parke Davis Research Laboratory/ Parke Davis Building #55/ Omni Hotel from Detroit1701.org
  5. ^ a b Parke-Davis and Company Plant and Research Laboratory from the National Park Service.
  6. ^ a b c Melanie Grunow Sobocinski, Michele Valerie Ronnick, Marlise Beaudoen, Alfred Berkowitz Gallery, Detroit and Rome: Building on the Past, The Regents of the Univ of Michigan, 2005, ISBN 0933691092, p.97
  7. ^ Parke-Davis Research Laboratory from the state of Michigan Dept of History & Libraries
  8. ^ Note: A National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination document should be available upon request from the National Park Service for this site, but it appears not to be available on-line from the NPS Focus search site.
  9. ^ Parke-Davis Research Laboratory from the National Historic Landmarks Program
  10. ^ http://www.detroitriverwalkhotel.com/

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