From Majestic to Decay – Michigan Central Train Station [25 Pics]

Michigan Central Train Station, exterior

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. The price tag for this 500,000-square-foot (46,000 m2) building was $15 million when it was built. Detroit’s Roosevelt Park creates a grand entryway for the station. Photo:
Jean-Pierre Lavoie, photojpl.com

Introduction

At the time of its construction, the Michigan Central Station (also known as Michigan Central Depot or MCS) was the tallest rail station in the world. It was built in 1913 for the Michigan Central Railroad.

The introduction to Detroit’s Michigan Central Station says the Michigan Central Station was designed by Warren & Wetmore and Reed & Stem, the firms who were the architects of New York’s Grand Central Station. The station, in spite of its decayed state, clearly shows architectural grandeur and the Majestic building is a true landmark. It has even been used in a music video by Eminem. in his video: Beautiful

[25 Pictures]

Michigan Central Train Station, arial shot

The station’s most distinctive architectural feature lay not inside but was the office tower rising above the station proper. Rumored as a possible hotel, it actually housed offices.

Michigan Central Train Station, floorplan

Michigan Central Train Station floorplan (photo: forgottendetroit.com)

MCS - The main waiting room

The main waiting room on the main floor was modeled after an ancient Roman bathhouse with walls of marble. Photo:
Jean-Pierre Lavoie, photojpl.com

Main Entrance - 1930

Main Entrance – 1930

Main MCS waiting room facing west

Main MCS waiting room facing west. The station’s decline is made painfully obvious in 1967 when the main waiting room and park entrance are closed due to declining passenger traffic. Also facilities such as the arcade shops and restaurant closed. Gradually the building deteriorated. Photo:
Jean-Pierre Lavoie, photojpl.com

The main MCS waiting room, 1967

By 1967 the main waiting room was closed to travelers and used merely for storage; it is difficult to conceive of these splendid benches being relegated to use as a mere shelving system. Hanging on by a thread, the Michigan Central continued to operate without its restaurant or even the main park entrance. (Dave Jordano, Courtesy of the Burton Historical Collection)

Michigan Central Station Ticket Lobby

Facing north towards ticket lobby, a hall of massive paired Doric columns. Photo:
Jean-Pierre Lavoie, photojpl.com

Michigan Central Station, main waiting room facing east

Michigan Central Station, main waiting room facing east. Open throughout much of the 90’s, the station has been vandalized. Its plaster and brass details were gutted out by scavengers. Photo:
Jean-Pierre Lavoie, photojpl.com

Michigan Central Station waiting room, 1913

Michigan Central Station waiting room, 1913. The centerpiece of the new depot was its waiting room, modeled after an ancient Roman bath. credit: forgottendetroit.com

MCS Ticket booth

MCS Ticket booth. Most of the interior has fallen victim to ‘urban miners’ who break in to steal any stone accents, wire and even copper tubing and bricks to sell as scrap. The removal of these materials causes extensive damage throughout, resulting in the interior being completely destroyed. Urban guerrilla artists have taken advantage of the vacant wall space. Photo:
Jean-Pierre Lavoie, photojpl.com

Michigan Central Train Station Arcade

Michigan Central Train Station’s door to the arcade, with shops. Photo:
Jean-Pierre Lavoie, photojpl.com

MCS Restaurant area

MCS Restaurant area. Smaller rooms for women and men were placed at either end of the waiting room as were a cafe and restaurant. Photo:
Jean-Pierre Lavoie, photojpl.com

Michigan Central Train Station concourse facing east

Michigan Central Train Station concourse facing east. Photo:
Jean-Pierre Lavoie, photojpl.com

Michigan Central Train Station concourse facing west

Michigan Central Train Station concourse facing west. It was at the concourse that one departed for their trains. Photo:
Jean-Pierre Lavoie, photojpl.com

MCS, concourse copper skylight and ramp to trains

Ramp to trains. The Concourse was far simpler then the waiting room, with walls of brick rather then marble. But it featured a massive copper skylight. From the concourse one passed through a similarly styled ramp down into a long tunnel to the train platform. Photo:
Jean-Pierre Lavoie, photojpl.com

Michigan Central Station exterior, in front facing west

Michigan Central Station exterior, in front facing west. Detroit City Council voted on April 7, 2009, to demolish the building, passing a resolution that calls for expedited demolition. Photo:
Jean-Pierre Lavoie, photojpl.com

Michigan Central Train Station Arial photo

Michigan Central Train Station Arial photo. 11 tracks in all. credit seedetroit.com

Michigan Central Station with trains

The station thrived prior to the Second World War. During the Second World War the rails were crowded with military traffic and the MCS saw many tearful good-byes as soldiers departed for the front. After the Second World War, however, the slow decline began.

Architectural detail on Michigan Central Station

Architectural detail on Michigan Central Station. Credit: seedetroit.com

Michigan Central Station upper floor interior

Michigan Central Station upper floor interior. The lower floors had marble lined corridors while the upper floors were bare. credit: seedetroit.com

View out the window on top floor of MCS

View out the window on top floor of MCS. The total composition included 18 levels above ground. credit: seedetroit.com

Roof of MCS, facing west

Roof of MCS, facing west. Credit: seedetroit.com

View from the roof of the Michigan Central Train Station

View from the roof of the Michigan Central Train Station. Credit: seedetroit.com

Michigan Train Station, Main Entrance.

Michigan Train Station, Main Entrance. On January 5, 1988 the last train departed. The building was permanently closed later that day. The building then started its quiet decay.

One Comment

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