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Iconic Detroit Building Gets Revitalized

The city's main train station, which shuttered its doors in 1988, is getting a makeover.

(David Kidd)
Detroit’s Michigan Central Station is a lot like its hometown: It was once a glorious, ornate place; then it fell on hard times; and now it’s fighting its way back. Opened in 1913, the Beaux-Arts edifice was designed by the same firms responsible for New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The station served the Motor City until the last train pulled out in 1988, and then promptly began to fall into disarray as vandals, scrappers and graffiti artists raided the abandoned building. But now Michigan Central Station is getting a long-awaited makeover. A cleanup of the interior has been going on for years, but recently electricity was reintroduced, an elevator installed and now the windows are being replaced. Even though workers are busy filling the 1,000-plus cavities with new glass, the fate of the building is unclear. Proposals over the years have ranged from a new police headquarters to vertical farming to a casino. 

David Kidd is a photojournalist and storyteller for Governing. He can be reached at
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