Detroit’s meteoric rise and fall were sharper than any city in America. Few buildings are as iconic of its dramatic history as Michigan Central Station. Now, the decaying structure is set to reopen — to almost literally rise from the ashes — as a so-called “innovation hub” for the automotive industry. Long before that happens, however, it will be reintroduced to the public in the most appropriate way possible: as a free, one-day haunted house this Halloween.
In a surprising move this past spring, Ford Motor Company purchased the dilapidated building for an estimated $90 million. It’s part of the automaker’s plan to build a 1.2-million-square-foot, forward-thinking vehicle campus in the Corktown neighborhood that will focus on autonomous and electric cars.
The former intercity train station will be anchored by a revitalized Grand Hall with high-end restaurants and local retail shops with the potential for residential housing. The initiative will build on many of the city’s revitalization projects that have gained serious momentum in the last decade. These days, businesses from boutique hotels to luxury leathermakers to artisan beard care specialists are calling Detroit home.
Upon opening its doors in 1913, the classic Beaux-Arts-style building became an immediate fixture of downtown Detroit. It was an opulent, 18-story building — the tallest train station in the world at the time — bedecked in towering marble columns and ornate brasswork. For nearly 75 years, it was the city’s de facto Ellis Island of sorts. It was the first place many out-of-towners set foot on Detroit soil in search of factory work. However, since the last Amtrak train left the station in 1988, it’s fallen into serious disrepair. Surrounded by razor wire and “No Trespassing” signs, the building is now best known as a haven for vandalism, vagrants, and other illicit activities. In recent decades, the interior had been stripped almost entirely bare by scrappers and former owners.
It’s become so infamous, in fact, that it’s been featured as a gritty backdrop in numerous films like Transformers, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and, of course, 8 Mile. All of this, of course, provides the perfect setting for a world-class haunted house. It’s so perfect that it’s a wonder no one thought of it before.
Details on the one-of-a-kind haunted house at Michigan Central Station are scant. It’ll likely set up on the building’s first floor and will be free to the public, with admission preference given to locals and city residents. However, it’ll be open for just one day, so tickets will likely go very fast.