Preserving Michigan’s architecture through photos and stories

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Guardians of Michigan profiles the extraordinary architectural sculpture found in both the pleasant peninsulas of the Great Lakes State. Author Jeff Morrison spent years exploring Michigan’s largest cities and smallest towns, using telephoto photography to capture the sculptural details hidden from the naked eye, and researching the beautiful historic architecture he encountered. Organized alphabetically by city, each section documents the history and design of an individual building, accompanied by beautiful photos of the building and its unique ornamentation. 

The buildings profiled in Guardians of Michigan range from county courthouses, churches, and government buildings constructed during the 1800s, to skyscrapers with intricate sculptural decoration too far above street level for passersby to see. As a result, the book highlights examples of Gothic, Romanesque Revival, Beaux Arts, as well as Art Deco and Art Moderne. Guardians of Michigan is a loving tribute to the architecture of the state, preserving forgotten stories and beautiful buildings for all readers to enjoy.

Jeff Morrison is a historian and photographer whose first book, Guardians of Detroit: Architectural Sculpture in the Motor City, was named a Michigan Notable Book by the Library of Michigan, received a 2020 Midwest Book Award from the Midwest Independent Publishers Association, and received a 2019 State History Award from the Historical Society of Michigan. 

"Jeff Morrison's photography reminds us that great art and great architecture go hand in hand. His stunning photographs bring into sharp focus a sculptural heritage all too often missed in the rush of everyday life."
—John Gallagher, veteran journalist and author of Yamasaki in Detroit: A Search for Serenity

- John Gallagher

"Jeff Morrison, in this marvelous accompaniment to his Guardians of Detroit. Architectural Sculpture in the Motor City, takes us on another up close and personal journey with the buildings across our “Pleasant Peninsulas.” The fascinating stories, anecdotes, and stunning photography give us a front seat to witness so much of the exquisite detail in the buildings of Michigan, particularly that which we can't see from the street."
—Damian Farrell FAIA, Damian Farrell Design Group

- Damian Farrell FAIA

"Jeff Morrison is such a rare talent, because he is blessed with both the skilled eye of a photographer and the tireless work ethic of a researcher. The result is a book that is as gorgeous as it is informative. His books should be considered essential for lovers of architectural history."
—Dan Austin,

- Dan Austin

"With an artist's eye for composition and light, Morrison's pictures breathe life into the saints, grotesques, dragons, mothers, eagles, athletes, and sphinxes that often peer down on us from far above—even including, in one case, a broom-riding witch, and in another, a benevolent Albert Einstein. Organized alphabetically by town, Guardians of Michigan includes short, informative essays on each building Morrison examines, making this highly readable resource both an artistic and architectural history of the highest order."
—Michael Hodges, author of Building the Modern World: Albert Kahn in Detroit

- Michael Hodges

"'Guardians of Michigan,' by Detroit author, photographer and architectural historian Jeff Morrison, takes readers on a trip across the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan in search of the most illustrative embellishments on some of Michigan’s most important historical structures. . . It’s hefty, but it’s worth it."
City Pulse

- Bill Castanier

Named a 2023 Michigan Notable Book

- Michigan Notable Book

Finalist: Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MIPA) 2023 Midwest Book Award in Nonfiction – Arts/Photography/Coffee Table Books

- MIPA Midwest Book Award

Winner: Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU)'s 2023-2024 Stuart D. and Vernice M. Gross Award for Literature

- SVSU Stuart D. and Vernice M. Gross Award for Literature

"a 2023 Michigan Notable Book and a tour de force resource for architectural, art, cultural, and Michigan-focused
historians and scholars. . . . Morrison’s photographs, of which there are more than 1,200 in Guardians of Michigan, brilliantly capture the sculptures that adorn buildings around the state. Part of the magic of Morrison’s photos is that they urge us to slow down and pay attention to the artistic details that we often overlook when whizzing by in our automobiles."

- The Michigan Historical Review

Read: Article in Lansing City Pulse | November 3, 2022