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Michigan Central Station PART I of IV


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Located on Detroit's west side, Michigan Central Station was built in 1913. It has now sat abandoned for over two decades open to the elements. I feel it's important that these pictures are posted, to show everyone how necessary it is that this building gets renovated. I encourage you to view other photos of MCS taken only a few years ago and compare the damage over those years. The purpose of visiting this site was not to explore the station, but document it so that it will always be preserved in images. The Madison Lennox demolition proved that even the law cannot prevent Detroit's most historical structures from dissapearing at any given time. Hopefully this one won't be next.

I hope you enjoy this 4 part tour as much as we did visiting the station. I met up with Allan and he showed me around the place. Thanks for the tour! Anyway, here are the photos I took.


Front of the building


Major detail on the office tower.


Back of the station.


The inside tour will start from the basement on up. So here is the basement elevator lobby.


The basement was very disorienting. There were lots of hallways and tunnels that we didn't even go down since they seemed to go on forever.


A zoomed out shot of that hallway.


Some areas had light coming in from holes in the ceiling.


I think I'll turn around here.


So there's a tunnel that goes somewhere.


And this room took us nowhere, unless you have a boat.


The basment extends out the back, so there are some windows.


Connected to the back of the building is this parking garage. The tracks run above it. The camera didn't show the depth of it very well, so I'm not sure how far it goes back.


Apparently there are more Liltons in Michigan than just one.


And now we're on the first floor, entering near the restaurant.


Paneled waiting room (Women's waiting room?)


The restaurant oesn't look very appetizing, but the vaulting was architecturally fullfilling.


I'm not 100% sure, but I think the steel was added to prevent the arches from spreading under lateral force.


Large windows


Broken roof of the waiting room. I'm not sure if that is what it actually was, so I'll refer to it as the 2nd room since it's at the back of the station. The first room, being that grand entry area.


Passanger dropoff area for motor vehicles.


Which then leads into the 2nd room.


Looking through the station from the rampway to the platforms


2nd room


The sun finally shined in for a brief moment illuminating the brickwork.


I'm still researching this building, so if anybody has some valuable info, feel free to post it.

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Maybe it could be declared a historic place...ar has that happened?

Maybe one of the proposals will pass.

I wish I could help, but I don't live anywhere near Detroit....I live in Douglasvill, GA, to be exact.

Look forward to the rest of the series.

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the vaulted ceiling in the restaurant had that steel in it because it later had a drop ceiling.

Good pics


Oh okay, I thought that was likely a reason too. Might as well keep it in anyway for the time being, since things are beginning to fall apart.

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I was on the freeway today going to my baseball games and I was looking at the station. I thought about it and it was so sad that I could see right through it. I asked my dad if he ever used the station and he told me his story. He was a kid going to Downers Grove with his family. He told me that the station was just like Union Station in downtown Chicago. Maybe even better. He remembered the platforms and many things about it. Of course, that was when Detroit was actually, in no better words than "GOOD."

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A few years ago when I spent my summer in Manhattan, I used to eat lunch every weekday in the food court at Grand Central Station. (prices were reasonable there) The eating areas do have so many similarities. The marble is almost (or might) even be the same since they were done by the same guy.

MCS is brighter though, probably because it's more trasparent nowadays.

EDIT: i hope you guys don't mind a wait on the other three parts. I've been busy with work and stuff, but I have a few days off next week.

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Maybe this might sound silly, but Detroit used to have commuter rail at one time. It would go back and forth to Ann Arbor. Why can't the Department of Transportation start putting money back into commuter rail that would include Flint, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and Jackson? Then, have Michigan Central Station serve as a hub. Develop the upper floors into condominiums or other mixed use, and restore the restaurant to its former glory. The people who live there wouldn't necessarily need their cars to get some place besides downtown and the people mover. Well, it's just a thought but gas is getting expensive, eh?


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Heavy would be nice, but the chances of that are exponential to the chances of getting light rail. Besides, I don't think there would be enough riders initially to warrant that. In 1950, it would've been perfect.

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So are you asking for heavy or light rail?


Light rail, like they are starting in Minneapolis. Believe or not, there was a lot of opposition to light rail by the taxpayer's league and their cronies. However, the transit advocates managed to ramrod it through the system in spite of folks like Krinkie (a stupid senator who supports parking lots) trying to stop it. Of course, federal transportation subsidies helped pay for it. Without light rail, those funds would have been wasted. So now, there is a direct link from Minneapolis to the airport and the Mall of America, and the area along the rails is developing like there's no tomorrow. As for krinkie? He can kiss my.....


Detroit: You should really consider getting the vote out. I think light rail can do a city some good...

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Oh how I wish for a light rail line linking Ann Arbor to Detroit.  This would do a lot of good for both cities, plus it can also connect up to Detroit Metro Airport.  Minneapolis already has an LRT system linked to their airport.


I stand corrected. Yes, the LRT in Minneapolis links the Mall of America to the airport, and also the downtown Minneapolis area. Also, the funding is being worked on for the North Star Commuter Rail, that will link Minneapolis with St. Cloud, which is an 85 mile stretch.

On the LRT, I was hoping to imply that it's the first leg of a light rail system for Minneapolis and St. Paul. There is hope of a line from downtown Minneapolis to St. Paul, but I'm not sure when that will start if ever. It would be good to have LRT form a triangle between Bloomington, St. Paul, and Minneapolis.

As for Detroit: Linking it with Flint and Ann Arbor would be a good thing if it could be made to work. It would certainly take a lot of building, and would cost a considerable amount. But, I think it would certainly be worth it.


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