Today was a lucky day

Before going to see the newly opened MOCAD, my friend and I spontaneously decided to enter and explore the Michigan Central Depot. It was surprisingly easy to get in from the tunnels. We were walking in darkness for a minute, before suddenly stepping into the expansive main lobby/waiting area (represented in the photo above courtesy of Forgotten Detroit). A snow storm had come through the city two days ago, so mounds of snow sculpted by the wind were all over the floor and staircases. We only had time to look around the third (some kind of vault/archival room) and fifth (hotel rooms or offices) floors. I still can’t really believe I was inside the building — had there been more time and had I dressed warmer, I could have spent much longer inside, just sitting, soaking and reflecting.

I hope the fate of this building, like other wonderful buildings in Detroit, will not go down the path of demolition. Afterwards, my friend and I had an interesting conversation about sustainability and urban cities. Inside the rooms, we had found many light fixtures and other materials wasted and deteriorating, as though people just left everything behind and didn’t think look back. At the same time, the architecture and building materials used to construct the station seem solid and strong enough to withstand time itself. Aside from the aesthetics, there doesn’t appear to be much structural damage. I don’t think the box-like buildings we find our Wal-marts and Targets today can measure up to the Michigan Central Depot. With the right amount investment, imagine the possibilities of how we can reuse this building.


  1. Glad you got to explore the train station before leaving town. I love how you just spontaneously decided to go. Cool!

    According to the play about Grand Central that they did at Matrix Theater, the structure of the building is so solid that conventional demolition explosives would not be able to bring it down. So most likely, the building has a future, occupied or not.


  2. I’m so jealous that you got to go in the train station! i’ve been wanting to go in there and explore since childhood.

    I did get in the building one time, while they were shooting that horrible movie “Crossover.” It was cool because they had the whole lobby illuminated with bright lights, so you could see all the intricate details. It, like, breathes history. It’s amazing to think that at one time, 50,000 people a day passed through there to come work in the auto plants.

  3. Miss you, for a long time now! Probably one of the best illegal things you could do, it’s a must really to see the inside for yourself. it’s been a while for me and I’ve seen, heard and done some crazy things in there. the roof is the best view of the city, well maybe next to the view from the Book Building, BUT be very aware of meeting cops on your way down, they have a tendency to be very edgy when in there, ie. guns drawn.

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