Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

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Welcome to the Michigan Central Station Open House Tour!
Today is the last day to see the newly purchased Ford building before it closes for a four year extensive renovation. How extensive? Well, just follow along on the tour I have for you here and you shall see!

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The announcement that Ford purchased the old Michigan Central Station has been such welcome news to lovers of this beautiful old building that saw it's last train leave the station in the late 80's. Since then the only way to see the grand columns and ornate ceilings was by following some very adventurous Instagrammers as they found their way inside and captured the decaying interiors. 

The lines reflect just how many Detroiters care about this building that stands tall and proud in the very hip area of Corktown, Detroit's oldest neighbourhood. Shortly after it was announced that Ford purchased the building (which many had speculated would happen) they unveiled their plans for redevelopment and released a video showing that they intend to develop this space into an innovation hub. It's the new thing to create these fun and engaging workspace as a way to attract top talent. Ford already has a footprint in Corktown with a small satellite campus that is working on electric and self driving cars. 

Ok, I've kept you in suspense long enough. Let's go on a tour!

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

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The hashtag #Fordetroit was everywhere

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

Ford put on a great show in the main entrance. There were projections on the ceiling and information displays throughout this space. So many photographs found of the building in it's more than 100 year run (c.1913).

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

These are the old ticket booths. Such lovely dental molding. You can really see in these photos the damage time, environment and vandals have caused.

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

All aboard! This is the Michigan Central concourse where patrons would be hurrying to catch their train. The last train to leave this station was an Amtrak train in 1988. The ceilings are gone and this space is wide open to the elements. 

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Big news last week was the fact that the Michigan Central Station clock was returned by an anonymous person after missing for many years. on Friday June 15, 2018 the "thief" texted Dave Dubensky of Ford Land who is in charge of the redevelopment. The sign above details their exchange

"Thief": I only have the clock. No other material. I left it leaning against a burned-out building on Lawton...please send two men and a truck immediately. It has been missing for 20 years and is ready to go home. Thank you so much."

Ford Land: "Thank you! I will try to send a crew right away"

"Thief": "Please have them lay it face up in the tru-ck. The paint is very delicate."

Later texts said "Thank you so much. I loved that clock and I loved that station."

Ford is of course happy with the return of the missing clock and welcomes the return of any other missing artifacts. 

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

There was a roped off walking path to take you on a tour of the interior. It lead you in a large circle starting and ending at the main entrance. There were key moments, such as the one I captured above, that show you just why so many people are in love with this Beaux-arts designed building. It's just so grand and lovely. This area, just out front of the old ticket booths, feels like something in ancient Egypt or Rome. 

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

The flooring and tile work has seen better days. I will say, the team behind this open house did a fantastic job of cleaning the place up and preparing for visitors. This is a great photo to show what it looked like before being cleaned up.

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

More lovely molding that I hope Ford can save. 

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

A really nice touch was having a few photos on easels showing how the space looked back in its heyday. This grand space was a waiting area with long wooden benches. I wonder where they are right now.  

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

So that's a quick walkthrough of the circular tour that Ford had set out for visitors. Once you are back in the main entrance there were a few stations set up with local artists and companies. 

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

Local street/graffiti artist @Fel3000ft created this picture of the exterior of the Michigan Central Station. It's not quite finished in this photograph but it is on his Instagram page

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

Antonio "Shades" Agee was on hand as well painting a mural for the occasion. His finished work is now live on his Instagram page.

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Rebel Nell Jewelry was on hand to demonstrate how they create their unique jewelry. What is so unique about it? Well, it's actually created using found and peeling pieces of graffiti from all over Detroit! It's a social enterprise that puts disadvantaged women to work creating rings, earrings and necklaces by hand. Their mission is to arm these women with the skills and toolsets they need to be self-reliant and successful. 

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

Here I am working with a member of the Rebel Nell team to stamp out a pair of earrings from red and white sheets of graffiti found in the train station! They will be for sale on their website soon. 


Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

After spending a good amount of time touring around (and then getting interviewed by the Detroit Free Press which was in Saturday's paper!) we went out to explore the restaurants (I love Mercury Bar!), shops and the ballpark (which was formerly the home of the Detroit Tigers) in this colourful section of town. And I say colourful literally because all the store fronts and even homes have the most colourful exteriors!  

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

But I just couldn't go without a few last looks. 

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

Michigan Central Station Open House Tour

It's surprisingly hard to get all of Roosevelt into a photo! I had to have AMH watch traffic for me so I could stand back (into Michigan Ave!) to get this shot!

If you were not able to get out and see the Michigan Central Station in person, I sure hope you enjoyed this tour. It's a marvellous building and I can't wait to see what Ford has in store for it!

I just wanted to say a very big 'THANK YOU' to the Ford Media team for allowing us to come and tour the station. 

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