Originally constructed to represent Detroit at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 in Chicago, Michigan Stove Co.’s 25-foot-tall world’s largest store was restored and re-erected at the Michigan State Fair in 1998. It had been dismantled in 1974.
It took about $300,000 to restore the stove. The money was raised by a collective of companies, unions and individual donors. Today, the stove sits on top of a mound at the Michigan State Fairgrounds and weighs 30,000 pounds.
An antique replica of an old coal and wood burning stove, the monument is representative of the stove industry that Detroit was known for before the automobile. It is an icon of Detroit’s first industrial era. At the turn of the century, the city was known as Stove City, USA.
The model that the monument replicates was produced by the Garland Stove Co. when stoves were used for both cooking and home heating.
“It needs a good, visible home and it needs constant protection,” said former state fair manager John Hertel, who led the effort to resurrect the stove. “But it’s worth saving. It represents an era. It was built four years before the auto industry got rolling around here. It really is a symbol of how we can reinvent ourselves, and that’s a good message for right now.”
Unfortunately a fire in August 2011 destroyed the stove.
Know Before You Go
Located on the Michigan State Fairgrounds. Take I-75 exit 59 onto Eight Mile Road and head west.
- The Detroit News: "Detroit's giant stove and tire" (February 1997): http://apps.detnews.com/apps/history/index.php?id=198
- Trip Advisor: World's Largest Stove: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g42139-d969306-Reviews-World_s_Largest_Stove-Detroit_Michigan.html
- World's Largest Things, Inc.: http://worldslargestthings.blogspot.com/2009/11/heat-on-to-find-worlds-largest-stove.html