You may recognize this building from the 2006 film Transformers, this is Detroit’s massive Michigan Central Station. Designed in the Beaux-Arts Classical style with the interior lobby modelled after a Roman Bathhouse, complete with Doric columns. The station was completed in 1912, but the whole area wasn’t fully completed (including Roosevelt Park, from where I took this photo) until 1920. Costing $15,000,000 in 1912 to complete the station was never fully used. That’s right, the 18-story tower that rises above the actual station was never completed the top several floors not even furnished. But despite this the station hosted more than 4,000 passengers daily through the early 20th century, presidents, stars, and inventors would ride the near 200 daily trains departing and arriving. But as public transit options to the station became less and less and people relied on cars more, the main problem of the station was realized, there was no parking. Thus MCS became isolated, attempts to sell the station in 1956 and 1963 fell through. By the the time the station closed in 1967 there were two ticket windows, the main entrance and waiting area long closed, and passengers used the employee entrance, as it was the only place that had parking. The station saw brief reused from 1975 to 1988 when Amtrack operated passenger service from the station, and continued to use just the platform until 1994 when a new station was opened. You could write essays on Detroit and other rust belt cities that fell from glory through the mid-20th century and still not fully capture. And so these modern ruins speak to better times, begging for a revitalization and restoration to what they once were.
But will just fixing a building repair the damage to the city, or just be a coat of paint over rust?
Modified Anniversary Speed Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznack Angulon 1:6,8/90 – Kodak Tri-X Pan (320TXP)
1/50″ – f/32 – ASA-320
Meter: Pentax Spotmeter V
Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:30 @ 20C