Michigan Central Station – The Abandoned Colossus of Detroit

The Michigan Central Station is located on 2001 15th Street, Detroit, Michigan.

The Michigan Central Station was in 1913 and architecturally done in Beaux-Arts Classical style. It was designed by Warren & Wetmore and Reed and Stem firms for $15 million. The 18 story tower of the MCS is at a height of 230 feet. Originally it was thought to use the tower as a hotel, with offices for the rail company, but the tower was only ever used as office space, with the top floors never being completely finished. The main floor waiting room was modeled after and ancient Roman bathhouse with vaulted ceilings and walls of marble, with a large hall with Doric columns that had the ticket office and arcade shops in it. Past this was the concourse that had brick walls and a large copper skylight, this lead to the ramps to the departing train platforms.

At its peak in the 1940’s 200 trains would leave each day, with passenger lines that stretched from the boarding gates to the main entrance. More than 4,000 passengers used the trains each day and 3,000 workers were employed there. Initially the train station was built without the thought of the automobile becoming the every way to travel. Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Herbert Hoover arrived at this station, as well as actor Charlie Chaplin and inventor Thomas Edison.

Currently the building is being slightly renovated with the abatement of debris being removed from the interior, possibly for a redevelopment of high speed rails from Detroit to Chicago, with grants given by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

It is right next to the Roosevelt Warehouse, which also is abandoned, the buildings are connected by underground tunnels. You can find that article here.

The dilapidated Michigan Central Station has been used a set for a few movies including Transformers, with Shia LaBeouf, and The Island, with Ewan McGregor. It is seen in the films Detropia, Nagoygatsi, Four Brothers, and 8 Mile.

It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It was named as a “Priority Cultural Site” in 2006, but in 2009 the City Council of Detroit passed a resolution aimed at the demolition of the site and the Depot next door. Shortly after a Detroit resident sued the city to stop the demolition citing the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The future remains uncertain for this large and once charming building.

You can find this climatic train depot with these coordinates. 42.329247,-83.077886.

Image 2 used under Creative Commons License Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported. Image 2 by Albert Duce / Wikimedia Commons.

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