Spirit of Detroit.

The Spirit of Detroit

Field review by the editors.

Detroit, Michigan

Unveiled on September 23, 1958, The Spirit of Detroit hails from the glory days of Motor City artistry, from towering tail fins on its cars to a 26-foot-high cross-legged man in front of its municipal building (The statue was dubbed "The Jolly Green Giant" long before there was a real Jolly Green Giant statue). Sculpted by Marshall Fredericks (who was paid $58,000), it was considered the largest artwork cast in Europe since the 16th century.

The Spirit of Detroit actually has nothing to do with Detroit in particular. The green guy is the Spirit of Man. The spiky ball in his left hand is God, the gesturing people in his right hand are The Human Family. The family is filled with the nobleness of God through the Spirit of Man, although it's unclear if the green guy is always out there, waiting to be helpful, or is just created whenever there's a power transfer. Fredericks spent three years creating The Spirit of Detroit, and then -- on a roll -- a year later he sculpted the giant Jesus for the world's largest crucifix.

Spirit of Detroit.

Fredericks' allegorical vision is lessened when The Spirit of Detroit is dressed in giant sport jerseys whenever a local team makes the playoffs, although that's probably more in alignment with the 21st century Spirit of Detroit.

The Spirit of Detroit

Coleman A. Young Municipal Center

2 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI
Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. Downtown. On the north side of Woodward Ave., between E. Larned Ave. and E. Jefferson St. Across the street from the Giant Fist of Joe Louis.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Giant Fist of Joe LouisGiant Fist of Joe Louis, Detroit, MI - < 1 mi.
Abraham Lincoln Nose JobAbraham Lincoln Nose Job, Detroit, MI - < 1 mi.
Detroit's Point of OriginDetroit's Point of Origin, Detroit, MI - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Detroit Chimera Graffiti Mural, Detroit, MI - 3 mi.

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September 29, 2020

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