“Repatriation is the process of returning an asset, an item of symbolic value or a person – voluntarily or forcibly – to its owner or their place of origin or citizenship.”
When it opened in 1928 the Grande Ballroom dance floor featured approximately 20 ornate molded plaster column caps or “corbels”. It is has been speculated that these and other several other Grande architectural ornaments are the work of the noted sculptor Corrado Parducci.
Grande Architect Charles Agree regularly employed Parducci and it is plausible that his studio was hired for the Grande project.
Over time all of these column caps were ripped or cut off their bases by scrappers and souvenir hunters looking for profit or to otherwise collect them.
Recently since the announcement of the inclusion of the Grande on the National Register of Historic Places, the Friends of the Grande became aware of two of the column cap/corbels. With help from several parties concerned with the preservation of the ballroom, these artifacts were acquired on behalf of the owners and placed in secure storage. Should the Grande ever be restored, this artwork can be recreated, replicated and reinstalled.
If you would like to see one of these Column Caps/Corbels for yourself, starting January 7 it will be on display at the Detroit Sound Conservancy’s “Salvaging Sound” exhibit at Detroit Historical museum through April.