It sits about 150 yards back from Michigan Avenue and stands defiantly, looming over Corktown and the skyscrapers to the north.
Built in 1912, it was, at the time, the tallest railroad station in the world. At its peak, over four thousand passengers a day caught over 200 trains coming and going from the depot. The last train left in 1988 when the station shut down.
As you can see, it’s empty now. Although it’s on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, its future is uncertain.
Unfortunately, Detroit is dead broke. The city can’t afford to keep all its traffic lights on so it sure as hell can’t afford to demolish this beast either. Therefore, count on this great building to outlive you and me. And maybe the next few generations as well.
Update, June 2018: Ford Buys the Station!
The station has been rescued! Last month the Moroun family (the owner of the station since 1995) announced that the family sold the property to the Ford Motor Company. Ford plans to completely renovate the building. It will have coffee shops, restaurants, and other shops on the first floor. Office space for up to 5,000 people will occupy the floors above. I think it’s interesting that not long ago the station stood as a stark symbol of Detroit’s demise. But today it it stands as a symbol of Detroit’s revival. I couldn’t be happier for all my Michigan friends.