Panel Information: Ann Arbor’s New “Streamlined” Bus Depot

Ann Arbor’s Art Moderne-style bus depot, touted as one of the most up-to-date in the country, was officially opened in September 1940. A large crowd of dignitaries and admirers assembled as the mayor cut a maize and blue satin ribbon stretched across the glass doors.

The crowd was invited to inspect the station’s impressive interior. Modern in all details,it illustrated how popular and important bus travel was in the1940s. The Ann Arbor News reported that the front exterior was of Indiana limestone and polished black marble with stainless steel and aluminum trim. A large neon sign informed the public that buses of the Blue Goose, Shortway, and Greyhound lines used the station, which included a completely covered passenger loading platform and bus roadway.

The original interior of the depot consisted of a modern waiting room (above right) with terrazzo floor, harmonizing colors, stainless steel trim, and 62 natural birch seats. A telegraph booth, baggage room, and ticket office welcomed those who entered from Huron. A sparkling polished steel lunch counter with 12 seats lined the wall on the left.

Major alterations were made in the decades that followed. The lunch counter was removed in the 1960s. Many of the other decorative elements were lost in a series of Greyhound station remodelings in the 1970s. The interior was later described as having an “industrial plainness”—barren long before the station was demolished in 2014 by First Martin Corporation to make way for a hotel. Although historic elements of the façade and marquee had fallen into disrepair, they have been carefully restored and retained.