This is Michigan Central Station. An abandoned building in Detroit, Michigan, USA.

Michigan Central Station

Michigan Central Station

It is a passenger rail depot that opened in 1913, when the former Central Station was burned down. Located far from downtown with a hope that the station would be an anchor for prosperity to follow. It stopped operating when Amtrak trained pulled away from the station on January 6, 1988.

At first, things were looking up as Henry Ford began to buy land near the station in the 1920s and plans were made, but the Great Depression and other circumstances squelched the development efforts.

And there are no provisions for a parking space in the compound, as the number of people having cars increased. That made the station a lot more isolated.

However, even with fewer means to get to and from the station, passenger volume did not decrease immediately. During World War II, the station saw heavy military use, but once the war ended, passenger volume began to decline. Service was cut back and passenger traffic became so low that the owners of the station attempted to sell the facility in 1956 for $5 million, one-third of its original building cost in 1913.

The main waiting room and entrance, modelled from ancient Roman bathouses with walls of marbles, were reopened in 1975 and a $1.25 million renovation projects was begun in 1978. Only 6 years later, the building was sold for a transportation center project that never materialized. Then, on January 6, 1988, the last Amtrak train pulled away from the station after it was decided to close the facility.

The building almost faced the wrath of a wrecking ball (April 2009), good thing that there is this man named Stanley Christmas who still appreciates a fine piece of architecture. He sued the city of Detroit to stop the demolition effort, citing the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.


I hope this building will be preserved and somewhat get renovated. Or better, be redeveloped. For this  kind building needs to be seen by future generations.




Filed under architecture, heritage

6 responses to “abandoned

  1. This is a great find – I hadn’t heard about this yet but its interesting.

    Enjoyed the other pictures/posts too!

    Good luck!

  2. weareoneinunity

    Great find. Can this be used to house the homeless, and create a unity centre to get people functioning together?

    • marc

      I think it’s possible, though it needs to be renovated because it seems the structural system of the building is not stable anymore.

  3. hove

    Have you seen the place? It’s basically already used to house the homeless, as you can see people walking in, out, and around the building all the time.

  4. jerry

    has the cental station really been saved from the wrecking ball? i sure hope so, it is such a beautifull building. why tear it down, leave it for another generation.

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