Eagle on top of Hurlbut Memorial Gate on Detroit’s east side struck by lightning, destroyed


The Hurlbut Memorial Gate just off East Jefferson Avenue on Cadillac Boulevard has a lot to offer. Unfortunately, one of these features will no longer be the eagle depicted with outstretched wings on the top of the monument. At least for now.

During a storm on August 18, the golden eagle was believed to have been struck by lightning. Then it fell off the monument and landed on the floor, shattering into pieces.

The monument once served as the entrance to the waterworks park, where the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) now operates a treatment plant.

“GLWA is working to collect all of the pieces and is committed to restoring the eagle at the top of the gate, whether through restoration or rework,” said Michelle Zdrodowski, GLWA’s chief public affairs officer, told Curbed Detroit of Email. “Further details will be provided once all due diligence reviews are completed.”

Quinn Evans Architects

According to historic Detroit, the Hurlbut Memorial Gate is named after Chauncey Hurlbut, who left his property to Water Works Park after his death in 1885. Completed in 1894, the monument is a fine example of the Beaux Arts style and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It is made of limestone and is impressive next to the eagle with arches, human figures, lion heads, horses, shells and others Decorated carvings.

A major restoration of the monument, which was completed in 2007, repaired and replaced damaged limestone blocks, including the eagle itself. The entire project cost over $ 600,000.

The same restoration can help save the eagle now. Quinn Evans Architects, who carried out the restoration, performed a 3D laser scan of the monument. Brandon Friske, project architect at Quinn Evans, says that a future bricklayer, CNC machine, or 3D printer could recreate the eagle using its 3D mesh.

“There are a variety of options for what you can do with this data,” says Friske. It wouldn’t be the first time the architecture firm has replicated an object on a historic building, he adds.

Lightning may have destroyed the original, but the eagle may fly again at some point.


Dusty Kennedy