not all those who wander are lost

For about 8 years I have been wondering what on earth this building was in its day. It sits across Gratiot from Gethsemane Cemetery right next to the railroad tracks. I always assumed it was a church, but could never find anybody who recalled it as such. Usually churches are not hard to date and name, but this structure has eluded that resolution.

Until recently, when an online expert at such matters enlightened me about the original purpose of this building – thanks to MikeM for that ! !

This is what he called the Gary Interurban Station. This is where streetcars would gather to relieve traffic congestion, and for riders to wait for trains. This was the “end of the line” for the electric trains, and as such, this was as far outside the city center as my grandfather could go to build a house, yet still be able to take the trains to work and into the City.

Any further than this point, and you had to switch at Gary Station to a bus. My father in law tells me they had electric bus lines that ran all the major thoroughfares: Gratiot, Grand River, Grand Boulevard , Woodward, Warren etc.

This area is the hood where my mother and my father-in-law both grew up, so I spend quite a bit of time poking around and finding places from the stories told to me by these family members. This is the station where my grandfather boarded the electric train to ride to work at Dodge Main back in the mid 1950’s. (they lived on Nashville Street)

Except back then, it didnt look like this at all.

It looked like this…

Note that the over hang “wing” of the building has since been removed from the northern face, and then the other enclosed on the southern side.

And inside this crispy critter we see the current condition.

This is inside looking toward the end of the building that faces Gratiot.

And here is the original interior.

What is truly sick about this little story, is that this region had state of the art mass transit 50 years ago, but that infrastructure was destroyed at the request of the automakers, who did not want people in this region sharing transportation. So in 1956, the electric street cars were shut down and sold to a more intelligent community.

And even now, as President Obama talks of building high speed rail systems in various metropolitan areas, Detroit is not included.

[I didnt read closely enough, thank GOODNESS! Eric adds: According to the article you linked, Detroit IS included in the high-speed rail plan: The city of Chicago, Illinois, would be the hub of the proposed Midwest Regional Rail System, which would stretch to Madison, Wisconsin, in the Northwest; St. Louis, Missouri, in the South; and Detroit, Michigan, in the East. It won’t be a hub, but it’ll be on the line.]

For now, if you want to go anywhere in this region, you go in your car by yourself and drive the most dilapidated and most expensive roads in North America.

Like many in this place, I am torn about the auto industry. Frankly, when GM and Chrysler are dead, I may just spit on their grave. I live in a region that was both built by the auto industry, and also DESTROYED BY THE AUTO INDUSTRY.

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And this dirty little building, sitting in a overgrown field populated by a pack of feral ghetto dogs, stands silent witness to my outrage.

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