Brewster Center Gym
The Brewster Center Gym is a building in Downtown Detroit. Originally it started out as a library, but as the years passed it transformed into an athletic facility. In the neighborhood, there was no official recreation center. This is why the parks department in Detroit spent $500,000 on renovations to make it a a community center. With these renovations, they added classrooms, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, and in place of the library, they made it an auditorium with a stage. The building opened on October 28th, 1929 and was dedicated to the whole city of Detroit, no matter what background you come from.
Backstory and Context
For the first 11 years of the buildings history, it spent that time being a library that did not live up to its potential. The owners of the library were not happy with the outcome of the library at this location, so they put it up for sale in 1928 and moved the library back to the original location. This is when the parks department of Detroit stepped in and started doing renovations. They spent $500,000 on renovations, and reopened the building as a community center in 1929.
With this new investment in the community center, Leon Wheeler was the manager from 1929-1945. This is where he met Joe Louis Barrow. Joe Louis had just moved up to Detroit from Alabama. This was Joe Louis' hang out spot during his time in school. Wheeler saw great potential in Joe Louis to become a boxer. Wheeler agreed to provide the training facility, along with a trainer, and financial support to jumpstart the career. The trainer that Joe Louis was working with at the community center was Alter Ellis. Joe Louis spent his time training and fighting in the basement. He trained and became an ammeter boxer and worked his way up to be the heavyweight championship.
This Building is historical due to the fact that it is where many people gathered during the time. It was a great addition to the neighborhood and brought in a ton of business. On top of all of this, one of the best boxers in the world trained in this facility making it known to not only the people of the area, but all around the boxing community.
Brewster-Wheeler Recreation Center. (n.d.). Detroiturbex.com - Exploring and Understanding the City of Detroit. https://detroiturbex.com/content/parksandrec/bwrec/index.html
Crumbling Detroit gym has proud past. (2012, December 23). FOX Sports. https://www.foxsports.com/west/story/crumbling-detroit-gym-has-proud-past-122312