Mar. 4, 1963: Garfield Hotel is destroyed in a five-alarm fire

Garfield Hotel FireOn this day in 1963, an inferno overtakes the Garfield Hotel killing two people during a spectacular five-alarm blaze.
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The two-story structure, located in the heart of the popular African-American entertainment district called Paradise Valley, is virtually destroyed.

The victims are 65-year-old William Ellis and 29-year-old Mildred Harris. The Garfield is located at 4457 John R. St. The structure will ultimately be razed to make room for the Medical Center development.

Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman, the author of On this Day: African-American Life in Detroit, is a native Detroiter and former news reporter. He served on the Detroit Charter Revision Commission. He lives in Detroit with his wife, Kim Trent, and their son, Jackson Coleman.