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Michigan Central Depot -- © 2011 Joe Braun Photography
The front of Michigan Central Depot as seen from Roosevelt Park on a foggy morning. BUY PHOTO

Like so many other photographers, urban explorers, and railfans, I have been completely fascinated by the Michigan Central Station building. MCS calls back to the grandeur of Detroit's historic past, yet also reflects the sad plight of today's urban decay. When talking about MCS, the conversation always seems to focus on two topics:

It is important to note that the station's demise started long before it was closed in 1988. Due to several fatal flaws and unfortunate events, I would argue that Michigan Central Station was doomed from the start as evidenced by its slow decline over the decades. Owners and curators have just as much to do with the destruction of the building as random vandals.

So is there any hope to bring the station back to its original grandeur? Maybe, if the surrounding area continues its gentrified recovery of designer restaurants and coffee shops. I would actually love to see this building restored into a train-themed hotel and casino that calls back to the glory days of the 1920s. Slot machines and gaming tables could take up the Waiting Room and Concourse, cashiers could occupy the old ticket counters, and the arcade shops and restaurant could be brought back to life. The upper floors of the old office tower could be converted to hotel rooms with outstanding views of the whole area. And how about a train-themed roller coaster ride in the back where the old train shed used to be? Until that day, MCS awaits its rebirth...

Michigan Central Depot -- © 2008 Joe Braun Photography
A final view of MCS from Depressed Drive. BUY PHOTO

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