Michigan Central Depot - Winter Festival

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Michigan Central Depot - Winter Festival

Unread postby ConrailDetr​oit » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:50 pm

https://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/ ... 1DOKJwmxn4

Ford to host 10-day winter festival at Detroit train station
PHOEBE WALL HOWARD | DETROIT FREE PRESS
Updated 8:10 a.m. EST Jan. 11, 2019



Detroit train station: A look inside Phase 1 construction
Hired architects give the media a walk and talk tour of the Michigan Central Train Depot that Ford bought earlier this year.
ERIC SEALS
It all started with a Detroit thief who wanted to return a valuable stolen clock to the Michigan Central Station after the depot's high-profile sale last year to Ford Motor Co.


Now that famous clock and other "found" antique objects will be displayed in conjunction with public days of the Detroit auto show. No ticket required.

Michigan Central Station Winter Festival will run for 10 evenings at the train station in Corktown, beginning on Friday, Jan. 18. The event will include a 3D light show on the building, fire pits with s'mores, artist demonstrations, food trucks and live music, said Dawn Booker, Ford Land spokeswoman.

The stolen clock returned in mid-June, after Ford acquired the abandoned train station for $90 million, attracted curiosity seekers from around the world. More goodies have been added to the Ford collection, including elevator buttons, elevator lights and brass fittings from stairwells for an exhibition curated by the Detroit Historical Society.


Cast iron railing toppers have been returned to Michigan Central Station.
Cast iron railing toppers have been returned to Michigan Central Station.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY
Collector Bryan Brincat, 64, of Farmington Hills recently returned treasures he found after wandering the train station, which closed in 1988.

"I've been a picker for years," he said. "Everything was gone. It was really sad. The bathrooms had all-marble partitions and beautiful oak doors. Somebody smashed marble and partitions to get the brass hinges and mounting brackets. It was sad to see that stuff all crushed up."

Original items returned to Michigan Central Station




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Brincat, a contractor who now owns the nearby Mercury Burger & Bar building across from the train station, said he wandered through the site and took things home nearly 30 years ago. He kept them in his basement all these years.

When he realized a few weeks ago he had items from Michigan Central Depot in a box, he took it all over to the construction trailer and gave it all to the foreman, including decorative fittings mounted on staircase posts, elevator push-button panels and light fixtures.


"I said, 'I've got these pieces to the elevators I want to return.' He was really geeked about it. He was like, 'Omigod.' Totally ecstatic. He was really into historic preservation," Brincat said.

"Me and my friend just wandered in one day. Anything brass or copper was stripped. The brass mailboxes you would drop your mail in, one on each floor. They were all gone. Everything was gone."

Another collector did return an iron mail chute, which will be displayed, Booker said.

Now is the time for anyone and everyone to return things, Brincat said.

"I was really, really geeked to hear Ford Motor Co. bought the train station," he said. "It needed somebody with deep pockets to afford restoration."

Richard Bardelli, Ford Land construction manager.
Richard Bardelli, Ford Land construction manager.
JAMES HAEFNER PHOTOGRAPHY, INC, FORD MOTOR CO.
More: Thief returns train station clock, thanks Ford for believing in Detroit

More: Ford receiving calls to return stolen Detroit train station property

More: Bill Ford shares vision for Corktown

Corktown history runs deep
History runs deep for families that have moved away.

"My grandparents on both sides lived in Corktown, across the street from each other on Church Street. Right there in the shadow of old Tiger Stadium," he said. "I remember, as a little kid, laying on the porch in the summertime at my grandmother's house, the neighborhood all lit up from the lights of the ballpark. You could hear the roar of the crowd."


Decorative fixtures have been returned to Michigan Central Station.
Decorative fixtures have been returned to Michigan Central Station.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY
Calls continue coming into Ford, and the company welcomes the offers for returned items as it redevelops the iconic building, which had become symbolic of Detroit's ruins since it was closed in 1988.

"Once the clock got returned, people just started bringing stuff back, little pieces here and there like a brass rosette," said Rich Bardelli, manager of construction for Ford Land, Detroit projects.

He said the company is working off old drawings, but seeing the size and feeling the weight of old objects gives restoration specialists a road map.

"The neat thing about the project is the emotion. It has sort of driven people to us," Bardelli said. "Everybody has a story about the train station. People need to be a part of this building."

A fire extinguisher that has been returned to Michigan Central Station.
A fire extinguisher that has been returned to Michigan Central Station.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY
On June 19, thousands of visitors descended on the site to celebrate news that Ford's purchase meant new life for the station, a combination tech hub for the carmaker that would include offices and shops and possibly living space. Thousands of onlookers registered to tour the station and see the stolen clock.

"It's one of the most popular items," Bardelli said. "That guy who gave back the clock, he didn't tell us who he was. He didn't want anyone to know. He kept such good care of the clock it was crazy. When you see it, the original paint is still on it. The clock had to have been off the building for 25 years or so. I mean, the building was completed in 1913, and so many of the things are from then."

Celebration details
The winter celebration is scheduled to start on Friday, Jan 18, and end the night of Sunday, Jan. 27, and run during these hours:

5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday Jan. 20
5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday (except Jan 20)

Past light shows have been met with enthusiasm and strong social media engagement. Ford said it will use the 18-story building as a canvas to re-create its glory days, its revitalization and its future as the centerpiece of the company’s 1.2-million-square-foot innovation campus.

The train station will not be open to the public this time. It is a massive construction site undergoing refurbishment. The celebration will be held under an enormous tent outside in front of the station.

"Our significant investment in Corktown will amplify the ongoing strength and resilience of the neighborhood," Booker said.

Tech hub
Ford expects the area to host 5,000 new jobs, about half from Ford. The carmaker has set a goal of opening by 2022.


About 200 Ford tech workers relocated to Corktown last summer to work at a former hosiery factory known as The Factory building, and the area remains the top choice for recruits, said the company, which has its world headquarters 7 miles down Michigan Avenue in Dearborn.

The company owns properties all over Corktown, including the old public school book depository, a former brass factory and 45 acres of vacant land. The electric and driverless vehicle teams are based at The Factory building.

Michigan Central was once an ornate symbol of success about a mile west of a thriving Detroit. The station itself cost $2.5 million to build and was designed by the same architectural firms responsible for New York's Grand Central Terminal.

The first train departed on Dec. 26, 1913, from a station that contained restaurants, a barbershop, newsstand and other amenities. It was a key transportation hub in the years before interstate highways and commercial air travel.


For 75 years, the depot is where families went to war, returned from war, left in search of work and to vacation in faraway places. Historians have written it was Detroit's Ellis Island, where Detroiters first stepped foot into the city for factory jobs.

Anyone who wants to return items to the train station is invited to email corktown@ford.com or call 313-845-3673.

For more information on the festival, go to mcsfest.com

Exterior of the Michigan Central Station in Detroit on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018.
Exterior of the Michigan Central Station in Detroit on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018.
ERIC SEALS, DETROIT FREE PRESS
Contact Phoebe Wall Howard: phoward@freepress.com or 313-222-6512. Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid

Originally Published 4:45 p.m. EST Jan. 10, 2019
Updated 8:10 a.m. EST Jan. 11, 2019
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