Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The ghost depot

I was in Detroit yesterday and took a few photos of the Michigan Central train depot, the once-grand, decaying ghost that haunts the southwest side of the city.

The Detroit City Council has recently passed a resolution calling for the demolition of the station, which has been empty for more than 20 years. Normally I'd be against the demolition of such an historic building, especially one that's so iconic, and also one that figures in my personal history - I began a significant cross-country journey from this station in 1976. But it's horribly deteriorated, a huge eyesore, and beyond hope of ever being revitalized.

John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press recently wrote that the station is "as good a symbol of post apocalyptic urban America as you can get." And I'd certainly have to agree with that. Looking at the station yesterday I couldn't think of anything I could compare it to. Being there feels like you've stepped onto the set of a movie meant to represent some time after the decline of humankind. And that's just the outside. The once grand, Beaux-arts inspired lobby is an indescribable vault of graffiti and decay.
You can see more pictures and video of the station at: http://www.freepopinion.com/


Lonne Mann said...

The building is incerdibly sad, but it still retains some dignity - like a kind of defeated monster. Your fotos capture the atmosphere very well.

Elizabeth said...

My friend the writer Rhoda Stammel lives in Detroit and has many photos documenting its depressing decay.
You are right there is often something wonderful about shabby-chic decay - -but sometimes it's plain awful and too far gone like your poor station.
When we were in northern India I felt a bit the same about palaces and forts with black mold.

How brave to look after your delightful grandson.
You are right I would have worried that he would cry for his mother. He must be a happy and well balanced child. Congratulations.

Wildeve said...

Wow. That is eerie and beautiful at the same time. Thanks for visiting my blog!