Photos of Michigan Central Station

April 10, 2009

Michigan Central Station

Michigan Central Station, photo by Grant Zoschnick Photography.

On Tuesday the Detroit City Council passed a resolution for expedited demolition of Michigan Central Station alias Michigan Central Depot alias MCS alias Detroit’s largest ruin.

David Kohrman’s Forgotten Detroit has tons of historical photos and a detailed history of Michigan Central Depot that begins:

When the old Michigan Central Depot burned on December 26, 1913 the still unfinished structure off of Michigan Ave. was called into service. Designed by noted hotel architects Warren & Wetmore and engineers Reed and Stem, the MCS was an exceptionally beautiful building. The style of choice was beaux-arts neoclassical. Flanking massive arched windows were pairs of Corinthian columns, a hallmark of the style. Inside the rooms were modeled after an ancient Roman bathhouse, particularly the massive main waiting room. With an impressive vaulted ceiling this room was the most imposing in the building.

All Aboard: A Retrospective of the M.C.S. is a fantastic look at Michigan Central Station as it was in 1973 and as it is now. Be sure to check this one out.

Michigan Central Station on Wikipedia notes that the building was designed by the Warren & Wetmore and Reed and Stem firms who also designed New York City’s Grand Central Terminal.

Here’s the Michigan Central Station slideshow on Flickr. In Exposure Detroit, many of the photographers whose work is featured in that slideshow are discussing the city council’s vote and how to save MCS and the Save Michigan Central Station Group.

You might also like Detroit’s Michigan Central Station from Michigan in Pictures and watch this great old video on YouTube.

Be sure to check Grant’s photo out bigger and see more of his shots from Michigan Central Station (slideshow).

UPDATE (April 14): Heather Pennington has cool post titled Save Michigan Central Station in which she has some photos and eloquently wonders:

There is much debate on what should be done with this amazing structure. What cannot be debated is the fact that there are countless other structures that are “dangerous, open to the elements, and open to trespassers”. There are so many houses, and former businesses that are abandoned and burned that should be torn down for the safey of the city. The Detroit Fire Department lost one of its own last year when Walter Harris died after the roof of a charred vacant house collapsed on him (read article from Fire Rescue 1 here). Why???

Wouldn’t it cost less than $3.6M (that the city does not have) to demolish vacant and burned homes?

Let’s take some time to clean up the rest of the city; make it safe for all that live, work, and play here. And in the meantime, let’s try to find a reasonable fate for Michigan Central Station.

4 Responses to “Photos of Michigan Central Station”

  1. Joel Says:

    Sad. So sad. Thanks for pointing us to the All Aboard photo essay, it is indeed terrific.

    Mom was a teenager during World War II, and she was infatuated with Prince Hal Newhouser. She told us a tale of her catching a train in Kalamazoo with her (lifelong) friend Tomi, riding to MCS, spending the afternoon at the ballpark, then riding the rails home from the great Detroit station. The notion that Mom and a girlfriend would make such an excursion is, well, interesting. But we know she did this at least twice.

    Back to topic: Mom would mourn the place. It was wonderful in her memory.

  2. Sidney Says:

    Blame local politicians for their arrogance as to why this building is not restored. Billionaire Mouron, the current owner of MCS, said he will restore it with his own money and turn it into a casino if they would simply grant him a casino license. Detroit has three casinos. Why not a fourth? They just have to sign a piece of paper. That’s it. Costs the city nothing.

    He also said he’d spend $80 to restore it to lease to the city as a police station or other public building, but the city doesn’t want to lease it. It’s not good business sense to restore a building the city won’t let him use or rent. What is the city’s response? Just tear it down because it’s not being used. Do we tear down the Rome’s Collusseum or the Appollo Temple in Athens because it hasn’t been used in thousands of years? Nope. Why? Because Detroit has stupid politicians and no sense of history. Just remember this the next time you vote.

  3. Michelle Beaubien Says:

    This is such an amazing building. It
    s a shame that in America, it’s better to tear something down then make it last. Out history turns into a pile of ruble. I applaud anyone who can keep this wonderful building alive.

  4. thomas giger Says:

    when did train service from detroit to toronto discontinue?


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