The Belle Isle Conservancy was established in 2011 following the merger of four individual advocacy groups for Belle Isle, a public park on an island in the Detroit River. As part of a lease agreement with the City of Detroit, the Conservancy oversees fundraising and volunteering efforts for the park. It also coordinates with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on maintaining historic structures and planning future improvements.
Belle Isle State Park is home to an extraordinary sampling of Albert Kahn-related structures spanning forty years of his career.
Detroit’s architectural firm of Mason & Rice designed the Belle Isle Police Station (1892-93) and the Belle Isle Stables (1894) while Kahn was employed there as head draftsman.
The design for the Belle Isle Aquarium & Horticultural Building (1900-04) was officially credited to the firm of Nettleton & Kahn, but was essentially the work of Kahn as George W. Nettleton was suffering a terminal case of tuberculosis at the time. The structure was completed under the firm name Mason & Kahn following Nettleton’s death.
Both the William Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse (1930) and the Samuel Francis Smith Memorial Flagpole (1932) were designed under the firm name Albert Kahn, Inc.
The Belle Isle Aquarium & Horticultural Building is open to the public: the Conservancy operates the Belle Isle Aquarium while the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory portion of the building is operated by the DNR. (See websites for open hours.) The other structures can be easily viewed during park hours, state park fees apply.
Belle Isle Conservancy Contact Information
Phone: (313) 331-7760 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 300 River Drive Place
Detroit, MI 48207