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14 votes

Michigan Central Station

2001 15th St, Detroit, Michigan 48216 USA

Free to Visit
  • Independent
  • Not Wheelchair Accessible
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“An icon of a faded city”

This place is on private property. Listing for informational purposes only. Please do not visit without express permission from the land owner.

Michigan Central Station (also known as Michigan Central Depot or MCS), built in mid-1912 through 1913 for the Michigan Central Railroad, was Detroit, Michigan's passenger rail depot from its opening in 1913 after the previous Michigan Central Station burned, until the cessation of Amtrak service on January 6, 1988. At the time of its construction, it was the tallest rail station in the world.

The building is located in the Corktown district of Detroit near the Ambassador Bridge approximately 3⁄4-mile (1.2 km) southwest of downtown Detroit. It is located behind Roosevelt Park, and the Roosevelt Warehouse is adjacent to the east. The city's Roosevelt Park serves as a grand entry way to the station. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Restoration projects and plans have gone as far as the negotiation process, but none have come to fruition. In 2011 work began to remove glass and asbestos from the thousands of window frames in the station. To date, the first floor windows have been fully abated. Work continues, though at a slow pace.

In 2008, the station owners said that their goal is to renovate the decaying building that was closed in 1988. The estimated cost of renovations was $80 million, but the owners viewed finding the right use as a greater problem than financing. On March 25, 2011, in an effort to push forward a potential sale and redevelopment of the depot, Dan Stamper, spokesperson for Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel "Matty" Moroun, announced plans to work with the City of Detroit on funding replacement of the tower's roof, and installing new windows on the structure. Stamper told the Detroit News: "... It would be much easier to help a developer to come up with a package to use the depot if some improvements were made."

The station has appeared in several films. MCS was used for scenes in the movie Transformers (directed by Michael Bay) in October 2006. In January 2005, it was used as a location set for the movie The Island (also directed by Michael Bay). In September 2002, extensive closeups and fly-by shots were featured in the movie Naqoyqatsi. The 2004 film Four Brothers opens with the main character driving his car along the front of Michigan Central Station towards Michigan Avenue. The building has been used in some of Eminem's work, including the title sequence of the movie 8 Mile and his music video for the song "Beautiful", during the beginning of which the building features prominently. A scene from the ABC crime drama Detroit 1-8-7 was shot and set inside the station. The building's lobby was significant in the closing scenes of the 2012 documentary Detropia. Also was used in Hostel 3 as a casino.

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Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 6 Helpful
September 08, 2013

I have been inside the MCS and it is beautiful even in it's decay. Even the underground entry where the passengers came in was lovely in it's day. The station is definitely locked down tight to prevent urban exploring. Unfortunately in order to get into the station you have to cross property that belongs to the Canadian Railroad in the back or go over the razor wire boldly right in the front in sight of everybody. If the railroad security catches you, you will most likely get a ticket for trespassing that costs around $125. The main floor is structurally very safe and several movies have been filmed in there.

4 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Joel Schat

  • Photographer
  • 238 Reviews
  • 405 Helpful
September 01, 2014
Rated 3.0

I've seen countless photos and have dreamed of shooting in here although no one has been inside for about a year now (without special permission) which is rather unfortunate!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Chelsea Koglmeier

  • Foodie
  • 242 Reviews
  • 202 Helpful
June 24, 2014
Rated 5.0

When you look at the station from across the city, you can see right through the floors to the light on the other side. Would make a very interesting drone video.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
January 05, 2014

It was used in the movie Hostel 3 as a casino for the rich to pay to see there victims get tortured

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 5 Reviews
  • 7 Helpful
October 25, 2013

Looks like a graffiti training station now.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
March 24, 2015

Does anyone know how to get permission?

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Michigan Central Station

2001 15th St
Detroit, Michigan
48216 USA

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  • Independent
  • Not Wheelchair Accessible
  • Street Parking

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