DETROIT – It was two years ago that Ford Motor Company began the painstaking process of converting Michigan Central Station into office workspace.
On Thursday, Ford showed off some surprising artifacts that have been uncovered in the 107-year-old building.
The progress made over the last two years is evident. The once-rusty and dirty brick building that closed in 1988 has new windows and a clean exterior. Inside the building, Ford showcased all the interesting things they discovered inside the former passenger depot. Old shoes, magazines, a baseball, old bottles cast in concrete and old train tickets have been found.
An old bottle of Stroh’s Bohemian Beer with a label dated July 19, 1913 was found by Homrich Construction worker Lukas Nielsen.
“It was stuck neck down. I said, ‘Whoa, stop wrecking. This could be something,’” Nielsen recalled. “I pulled it out and saw there was something stuck down in there. Hey, it came to mind there’s a message in a bottle.”
They gently pulled it from the bottle, unfolded it and found a handwritten note from two men who declared they worked on the old train station.
“I’m surprised there is still writing on it just due to the fact that all the water has run through this building,” Nielsen said. “I’m just surprised they can trace one of the workers from there with records of that time period.”
“If there wasn’t anything, it would have been disappointing,” said project manager Rich Bardelli. “It’s exciting that we maybe can go try and find maybe family members.”
The names signed on the paper were George Smith and Dan Hotan. Archivists who are working on the station are hoping to find family members.
There’s still a lot of work left to do on the historic building. Workers believe they can get the renovation complete by early 2023 and people can start using it as an office space shortly after.