Michigan Central Station, differently known as Michigan Central Depot, is one of the most iconic buildings of the area. When it was opened on January 4th in 1914, it became the tallest train station in the whole world. It was designed in the Beaux-Arts Classical style, the same grand style that was used for New York City’s Grand Central Terminal.
This train station was something completely vital to the huge passenger numbers. Now, they could travel more easily from one place to another as there were more than 200 trains leaving the station every day. The station became quite well-known all over the country. There were also some famous passengers that arrived at MCS. Among these notable people, we can mention Presidents Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, and also the great actor Charlie Chaplin and inventor Thomas Edison.
Michigan Central Station is located in the Corktown district near Ambassador Bridge, just behind Roosevelt Park. Michigan Central was thought to have a connection with Grand Central in New York as they both were flagship stations on Vanderbilt’s rail lines and had quite the same design with office towers and similar details. They were even both opened within six months! When it was built around a century ago, MCS was about 500,000 square feet and it cost around 15 million dollars to be built.
Military forces heavily used the station as a central command intelligence point during World War II. After the war, as people began to use more and more cars, there was seen a decline in railway travel. People now preferred the convenience that cars could offer. As a result, the station lost all its success and turned into a non-profitable business. It was attempted many times to sell the building, but no company was willing to buy it, even though its price was only 5 million dollars, only one-third of the original price!
By the end of the 1960s, the station lost any trace of activity going on; the shops, the restaurants, and most of the windows selling tickets were completely closed.
In 1971, as Amtrak took over the nation’s passenger rail service, the Michigan Central Station was included. In 1978, Amtrak tried really hard to bring MCS the fame it used to have by investing on a renovation project of 1.25 million dollars. Unfortunately, that didn’t have to have worked according to expectations. As a result, the station was entirely closed on January 1988, exactly 74 years and 2 days since it had started to operate.
During the last decades, though, it is discussed to use the facility for some other functions. Potential users of this building include the redevelopment of the station into a trade processing center, a convention center, a casino, or give it to the Detroit Police.
Now, Michigan Central Train Station has become a beautiful, abandoned structure. Many people and captivated by its iconic structure and many photos of it can be seen online. MCS can also be seen in different movies and music videos, where we can mention “The Island” (2005), “Transformers” (2006), Eminem’s “8th Mile” and the music video for the song “Beautiful”.
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