Michigan Central Station (also known as Michigan Central Depot or MCS) was the main intercity passenger rail depot for Detroit, Michigan. Built for the Michigan Central Railroad, it replaced the original depot in downtown Detroit, which was shuttered after a major fire on December 26, 1913, forcing the still unfinished station into early service. Formally dedicated on January 4, 1914, the station remained open for business until the cessation of Amtrak service on January 6, 1988. At the time of its construction, it was the tallest rail station in the world. (Wiki)


The building is of the Beaux-Arts Classical style of architecture, designed by the Warren & Wetmore and Reed and Stem firms who also designed New York City's Grand Central Terminal.

Michigan Central was designed at the same time, and is seen as a spiritual twin to Grand Central in New York, as both were meant as flagship stations on Vanderbilt's rail lines, as well as the fact that both were designed to have office towers in their original design concepts (Grand Central's tower was not built until the MetLife Tower was built in the 1960s), and both have the same detailing, and were opened six months apart. The price tag for this 500,000-square-foot (46,000 m2) building was $15 million when it was built. Roosevelt Park creates a grand entryway for the station, which was fully realized around 1920.

The building is composed of two distinct parts: the train station and the 18-story office tower. The roof height is 230 feet (70 m). The original plan for the tower included a hotel, offices for the rail company, or a combination of both. The tower was used only for office space by the Michigan Central Railroad and subsequent owners of the building. The tower was never completely used; the top floors were never completely furnished, and served no function.

In the 1920s Henry Ford began to buy land near the station and made construction plans, but the Great Depression and other circumstances squelched this and many other development efforts. The original design included no large parking facility. When the interurban service was discontinued less than two decades after MCS opened, the station was effectively isolated from the large majority of the population who drove cars and needed parking to use the facility.

Passenger volume did not decrease immediately. During World War II, the station was used heavily by military troops. After the war, with a growth in automobile ownership, people used trains less frequently for vacation or other travel. Service was cut back and passenger traffic became so low that the owners of the station attempted to sell the facility in 1956 for US$5 million, one-third of its original 1913 building cost.

Amtrak took over the nation's passenger rail service in 1971, reopening the main waiting room and entrance in 1975. It started a $1.25 million renovation project in 1978. Six years later, the building was sold for a transportation center project that never materialized. On January 6, 1988, the last Amtrak train pulled away from the station after owners decided to close the facility.

The station has been featured in several films. MCS was used for scenes in the movie Transformers (directed by Michael Bay) in October 2006. In January 2005, it was used as a location set for the movie The Island (also directed by Michael Bay). In September 2002, extensive closeups and fly-by shots were featured in the movie Naqoyqatsi. The 2005 film Four Brothers opens with the main character driving his car along the front of Michigan Central Station toward Michigan Avenue. The building has been used in some of Eminem's work, including the title sequence of the movie 8 Mile and his music video for the song "Beautiful", during the beginning of which the building features prominently. A scene from the ABC crime drama Detroit 1-8-7 was shot and set inside the station.

On May 5, 2011, the Detroit International Bridge Company announced it engaged the Ann Arbor firm of Quinn Evans on behalf of the Moroun family that owns the building to oversee restoration of the roof and windows of the structure. Bridge Company owner Moroun stated, "We hope this is just the beginning of a renaissance for the depot." As of December 2015, all of the once broken windows have been replaced. The once flooded basement has largely been drained, with about 4 inches of water at its highest still remaining in a sub-basement of the building. Structural Analysis of the building, as well as proposals for reuse of the building were going on as of early July 2016.

As of August 2016, the Moroun family has spent 10 years and $12 million on electricity, windows and the elevator shaft, to revitalize the building.


*This presentation was created by Dandelion Air, LLC. Text sourced from Wikipedia
Created By
Aleksey Bochkovsky


Aleksey Bochkovsky

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