New panelized mural proposed in Kerrytown

Ann Arbor restaurant Detroit Street Filling Station has petitioned the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission (HDC) to have a mural painted on metal panels and affixed to the restaurant's north exterior wall at 300 Detroit St.


Detroit Street Filling Station co-owner Phillis Engelbert submitted the proposal. The application letter states the metal panels would be removable, hung from Detroit Street Filling Station's roof and fixed to the wall by drilling through the mortar joints. The wall is new and not part of the building's original structure.


In the proposal, Engelbert describes the mural as a "lively expression of art and music in (Ann Arbor)." Because Detroit Street Filling Station hosts live music several times a week, the proposal states the mural would support the business' mission and activities.


According to the proposal, Jeff Gearhart would install the mural with assistance from Detroit Street Filling Station's landlord Wickfield Properties. The mural artwork would be done by Treetown Murals.


When a proposal is submitted to HDC, it is usually evaluated by a staff member who will make a recommendation to the commission whether to approve the proposal or not. Jill Thacher, historic preservation coordinator, says she considers state and city standards when evaluating proposals sent to HDC.


"More than 300 applications come in a year," Thacher says. "About 80 of those are just reviewed by the commission and the rest are reviewed by staff."


Thacher says Ann Arbor guidelines are more specific than state standards. One example she notes is that signs must be mounted in mortar joints, not through masonry units, such as brick or stone.


Thacher will make her recommendation to HDC later this week. HDC will consider Detroit Street Filling Station's proposal at its March 14 meeting.


Emily Benda is a freelance writer based in Ann Arbor. You can contact her at


Photo courtesy of the city of Ann Arbor.