Bernard Schwartz Cigar Corporation, Detroit Michigan

Date added: May 12, 2011 Categories: Michigan Industrial Kahn, Albert

Also known as D.W.C. Cigar Corporation and D.W. Hacker Company, Inc.

The Bernard Schwartz Cigar Company is primarily significant for its involvement in Detroit's labor movement during the 1930's.

Mechanization and the depression had resulted in a series of paycuts and longer hours for the Schwartz Cigar Company's workforce of Polish women. On February 16, 1937, after all other efforts to redress their grievances had failed, occupation of the building, along with four other factories, began. The sitdowns were among the longest and most bitter in the city.

On March 16th, the Detroit Police acted without court authorization and stormed the Bernard Schwartz Cigar Company in an effort to evict the women sitdowners. A floor-by-floor battle ensued,and fighting broke out in the street between police and hundreds of sympathetic unionists, friends and relatives. Considerable community support developed and sustained the strike until it was settled in late April.

The Bernard Schwartz Cigar Company building is a four-story structure with a basement. It is rectangular in plan and uses steel-framed reinforced concrete construction with red brick infill facing. The only notable aspect of architectural detailing on this industrial building are the dentils that appear below each row of windows. The design of the structure emphasizes an austere symmetry committed to industrial function.

In 1955 a renovation of the first floor shipping room, designed by the architect George Head, was completed for the D.W.C. Cigar Corporation. During the years 1959 and 1960, the first floor offices underwent remodeling. For this design also Geo. Head was commissioned.

The building was last occupied by a printing firm, the D.W. Hacker Company. The building was demolished in 1981 along with the rest of Poletown.

Bernard Schwartz Cigar Corporation, Detroit Michigan WEST AND NORTH ELEVATIONS AND PARKING LOT