Michigan's Historic Railroad Stations

Michigan's Historic Railroad Stations

eBook - 2012
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Wayne State

When the railroad revolutionized passenger travel in the nineteenth century, architects were forced to create from scratch a building to accommodate the train's sudden centrality in social and civic life. The resulting depots, particularly those built in the glory days from 1890 to 1925, epitomize the era's optimism and serve as physical anchors to both the past and the surrounding urban fabric. InMichigan's Historic Railroad Stations writer and photographer Michael H. Hodges presents depots ranging from functioning Amtrak stops (Jackson) to converted office buildings (Battle Creek) and spectacular abandoned wrecks (Saginaw and Detroit) to highlight the beauty of these iconic structures and remind readers of the key role architecture and historic preservation play in establishing an area's sense of place.

Along with his striking contemporary photographs of the stations, Hodges includes historic pictures and postcards, as well as images of "look-alike" depots elsewhere in the state. For each building Hodges provides a short history, a discussion of its architectural style, and an assessment of how the depot fits with the rest of its town or city. Hodges also comments on the condition of the depot and its use today. An introduction summarizes the functional and stylistic evolution of the train station in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and surveys the most important academic works on the subject, while an epilogue considers the role of the railroad depot in creating the American historic-preservation movement.

The railroad station's decline parallels a decrease in the use of public space generally in American life over the last century.Michigan's Historic Railroad Stations will reacquaint readers with the building type that once served as the nation's principal crossroads, and the range of architectural styles it employed both to tame and exalt rail transportation. Readers interested in Michigan railroad history as well as historic preservation will not want to miss this handsome volume.


A photographic survey of 31 railroad stations around the state of Michigan with architectural observations and short histories of each.

Book News
Author and photographer Hodges writes about architecture for the Detroit News print edition and blog. In this horizontal-format (11.5x9") collection of original color photos, he profiles 31 Michigan railroad depots, some retired and some still in use. For each building, the author gives a short history, provides background on its architectural style, and gives an update on its current condition. The depot entries are illustrated with 4-10 color pictures. An introduction charts the development and decline of the train station in the 19th and 20th centuries, and an epilogue looks at how the fascination with railroad depots contributed to the historical-preservation movement. In addition to Hodges's contemporary color photos, the book includes b&w historical photos and color historical postcards. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Publisher: Detroit, Michigan : Wayne State University Press, 2012
ISBN: 9780814338124
0814338127
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xii, 186 pages)

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