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renaissance

Ford Invites You to Gape at an Iconic Detroit Lobby


June 22, 2018, 7:46 AM by  Alan Stamm


The Great Hall in 1916, two years after the rail depot opened. (Detroit Public Library photo from Burton Historical Collection)


This updated article first appeared June 18.

No longer is Michigan Central Station an edgy attraction for stealthy urban explorers with headlamps or ruin porn shooters chasing cliché images.

This will be a place of the people again, as it was from 1914-88.

And for 19 hours through Sunday, the Beaux Arts landmark's doors reopen for we the people, any of us eager for a free peek at the cathedral-like Grand Hall with its Doric columns. (Spoiler: The view isn't quite the same as a century ago.)

Ford Motor Co., the new landlord, offers three days of free, self-guided tours in the lobby where passengers started and ended business trips, distant vacations, family reunions, military duty and other life passages in bygone eras.

Hours are 1-6 p.m. this Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days this weekend -- thouhgh only wait list spots remain.

Ian Thibodeau of The Detroit News posts details:

Ford and the Detroit Historical Society will have a curated exhibit inside the 18-story, 500,000-square-foot building recently purchased by the automaker. Artifacts will provide glimpses of the depot's history. Visitors will get a first look at a documentary on the train station.

Activities also include including a Ford "lab" showing its careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEAM) and live mural-painting by local spray paint artists Fel3000ft and Shades.

The company requires advance signup here, where it says all time slots are filled. "Capacity is limited," Ford advises, with entry on a first-come basis. Waits "may vary based upon time of arrival."

All aboard!


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