Detroit, Michigan, was once the center of the American stove industry. It was home to several stove factories including the Detroit Stove Works, the Peninsular Stove Co., the Art Stove Co., the Detroit Vapor Stove Co., and the Michigan Stove Co. To promote their popular Garland model, the vice president of this latter company had a giant replica built and displayed the “World’s Largest Stove” (25' high, 20' wide, and 30' long) at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. At that time, before the auto industry was born, Detroit was known as Stove City, USA. After the world's fair, Detroit embraced this symbol of its industry, although it moved from site to site over the next century:
- 1893 - placed at Jefferson near Elmwood and Adair Street
- 1926 - moved just west of the Belle Isle Bridge, close to factory headquarters (1st image, more photos here)
- 1957 - leased by Schaefer Bakeries to advertise its bread
- 1965 - relocated to the Michigan State Fairgrounds
- 1974 - dismantled and stored at the Fort Wayne Military Museum
- 1998 - put back on display after being refurbished at a cost of $300,000 raised from corporate and private donors
Though it was painted to have the appearance of a nickel-trimmed cast-iron range, the 15-ton stove had been sculpted from oak (construction details here). On Saturday night, it was struck by lightning, caught fire, and burned to its frame (2nd image) - an ironic end to the treasured landmark, which was declared a total loss (video here).