One Last Chance for Ghost Depot

One Last Chance for Ghost Depot

Once the world's tallest train station, the ruin of the Michigan Central Depot is now a spooky symbol of a city's decay. Should it be preserved or demolished? (Detroit Free Press)

Some call Michigan’s Central Depot “the Ellis Island” of the Midwest. Once an entry point for immigrants from all over the world, the station is now a towering, abandoned eyesore in downtown Detroit.

The depot closed in 1988, and more than 20 years of neglect have left its toll on the once grand architectural gem. The ruin is littered with broken glass, tattered tile and crumbling stone. The building has been stripped to the bone by vandals, and graffiti and murals cover the walls.

A testament to Detroit’s glory and its demise, the building is a favorite of urban spelunkers and moviemakers (Transformers; The Island), and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With tens of thousands of abandoned buildings to be found in Detroit, residents are divided about whether the giant ruin should be demolished or somehow preserved for historic reasons.

This multimedia project by the Detroit Free Press includes photo galleries from the past and present, interactive presentations and panoramas of the interior of the building.

CHANNEL: Detroit Free Press (

Length: 2:32

Video and Production by Marcin Szczepanski
Photography by Susan Tusa, Marcin Szczepanski and Brian Kaufman
Archival Photography by Jessica Trevino and DFP Photographers
Based on writing by Jeff Gerritt
Narrated by Joseph Palmer