Grande Ballroom Emergency Roof Fund

My name is Leo Early, I am a historian, author and preservationist. Research for my book "The Grande Ballroom - Detroit’s Rock n Roll Palace" led me to advocate for this major Detroit music landmark . In 2006 I assembled a grass roots group, The Friends of the Grande (F.O.G.) whose primary objective was and is "To preserve the history of the Grande Ballroom and its physical edifice while promoting the culture fostered by its patrons, performers and promoters." I will serve as campaign manager and donations proxy for this GoFundMe initiative. Funds are transferred via Deborah East, accountant for Chapel Hill Missionary Baptist Church.

Since '06 F.O.G. has developed a relationship with the Ballroom’s current owners, Chapel Hill Missionary Baptist Church  (CHMBC).  We have partnered to fund, evaluate, stabilize and ultimately restore the Grande structure. A successful 2017 GoFundMe campaign allowed us to pay for services, to assess the building’s condition, which was proven viable. In 2018 we successfully nominated and listed the property on the National Register of Historic Places . CHMBC Grande efforts will be the prime beneficiary of this current campaign’s dedicated “brick and mortar” goal.

Although our 2018 structural engineering inspection  reported a robust interior structure, certain roofing elements continue to be the Ballroom’s “Achilles' heel”. Rain and Mother Nature continue their attempt to drag the Grande back into the Earth. This year the building suffered the collapse of one of three flag pole bearing roof peaks. These peaks are the only structures on the roof with a wooden infrastructure and the loss/theft of their Spanish tiles  is causing them to rot and fail.

The peak collapse has opened the main staircase to the sky and the elements. Though the Grande has a superior reinforced concrete core, the freeze-thaw cycle and glacier-thick ice on the stairs could cause their failure this winter, 2019-1020. Should the staircase collapse, it could bring down the entire northeast corner of the building. Rainwater has begun to impede and eliminate direct access to the ballroom floor of the building permanently. Your donations are needed for tarping and a roof peak replacement immediately.
Your Impact:
With your support, a fully funded campaign will make a direct impact on the stability of the building. Until major funding or a development partner can be secured for the Grande, these described methods of “Strategic Stabilization” will have to be pursued.  While not a complete solution and dependent on final estimates, we can stabilize up to 25% of the roof. This would be a milestone start, potentially kicking off a series of fundraisers and other funding opportunities. A successful construction project will resolve the immediate problem while raising the profile of the building’s importance and legitimacy significantly.

Our thanks:
As with our previous 2017 GoFundMe, we have some great rewards for donors which we will release slowly as the campaign progresses.
These items will be shipped free of charge after the close of our 45 day goal- while quantities last
Upon donation, organizers will e-mail you a web link for a form to claim your reward and provide shipping information.

$100 Dollar Level  - 1 each  of 10 -  Courtesy of Director Tony D'Annunzio, your personal copy of the DVD "Louder than Love", his award winning documentary on the Grande Ballroom.  While quantities last. 

$75 Dollar Level -
1 each of 10 -  Grande Ballroom original and counter culture svengali John Sinclair's "Mobile Homeland" CD. Courtesy of Tino Gross and FunkyD Records. While quantities last. 

$50 Dollar Level 
- 1 each of 50 -  Limited edition 13" x 19" Grande Ballroom fine art blueprint featuring the work of Grande Architect Charles Agree, suitable for framing. While quantities last.

September 2019 Roof Survey

2016 Inspection with Wayne State Student Archeologists

Donations (96)

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  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 4 yrs
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Organizer and beneficiary

Leo Early
Detroit, MI
Deborah East

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