Since 1955, Capitol Park has served as a public transportation hub and now that the Rosa Parks Transit Center is open, it can return to its original park setting.
Capitol Park is one of three triangular parks (the others being Harmonie Park and Library Park) formed while implementing the Woodward Plan. It was once the center of commercial, educational, and governmental activity in Detroit and has a rich history.
In 1823 the US Congress transferred territory control to a governor and legislative council. A courthouse was constructed in Capitol Park from 1823 -1828 and when Michigan was granted statehood in 1837, it became the state capital. In 1947 the seat of government was moved to Lansing and the capitol building was used as a school until it was destroyed by fire in 1893. The land was then converted to a public park and remains a park to this day.
Today the park is part of the Capitol Park Historic District.
The Capitol Park Historic District represents Detroit’s significant growing years throughout the nineteenth century. Designed by some of Detroit’s most notable architects, most of the contributing buildings defining Capitol Park were built in the ensuing three decades, and illuminate the transformation of Detroit from a prospering late-nineteenth century commercial center to a modern age city building cathedrals of commerce.
-City of Detroit Planning and Development Department
Several prominent buildings surround the park including the Farwell Building, the Griswold Building, the David Stott Building, and the Industrial-Stevens Apartments. The district also includes the Finney Hotel site which served as a point on the Underground Railroad. A barn on the site served as a hiding spot until fugitives could reach the riverbank enroute to Canada.