'Out of this world': Former Michigan Central employee tours revitalized building 8 decades later

Angela Spalla was 22 when she put on her badge and went to work inside Michigan Central Station.

Spalla, now 103, worked there during the Detroit train depot's heyday, and watched it fall into a blighted, vacant building. Now, she's experiencing a full-circle moment by watching its rebirth in real time.

"I never in my life thought this would happen," Spalla said of Michigan Central's revival.

Thirty years after the last train left the station, Ford bought the decaying building and set out to renovate it. Just last week, the public got its first look inside. 

Take a virtual tour of Michigan Central here.

Michigan Central closed in 1988. Spalla worked in the accounting department in the 1940s, crunching numbers by hand.

Angela Spallas work ID

"The atmosphere, the people, the work, everything. I just loved it," she said. "I liked the job because I had to learn their way. No computer, no nothing, just in my head."

For three years, Spalla took two buses to get to Michigan Central Station for work. She left that job when her fiance returned home from war as the pair prepared to wed in 1946.

Forty-two years after she left, MCS shuttered for what might have been for good had Ford not purchased it.


Michigan Central history: A timeline of historic train depot's fall to decay, revival

Michigan Central spent 30 years empty, becoming a symbol of Detroit's decay, but before that it was a bustling hub for train travel in and out of the city. Here's a look back at key moments in the depot's history as the grand reopening nears:

"The fall was horrible," Spalla said. "But the rising, it's great now."

Spalla toured Michigan Central last week.

"It's out of this world. I've never seen anything like it," Spalla said. "It's gorgeous."

For those lucky enough to get their hands on Michigan Central tour tickets, they can learn more about Spalla because her story is featured inside the building right now.

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