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Ann Arbor Bus Depot, 1940

Ann Arbor Bus Depot, 1940 image

116 West Huron Street

Ann Arbor Bus Depot, 1940

Shortly after opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Mayor Walter Sadler on September 5, 1940, the Ann Arbor Bus Depot was featured in an book entitled Modern Bus Terminals and Post Houses. New bus terminals, the authors noted, were being designed not only to meet new demands by travelers but also in a modern and more aesthetically pleasing style. Designed by the architecture firm of Banfield and Cumming of Cleveland, Ohio (which also designed similar bus depots in Kalamazoo and Windsor, Ontario), in association with Ann Arbor architect Douglas Loree, the Ann Arbor Depot was one of a small number of new bus stations designed in the streamlined Art Deco style popular in the 1930s and 40s.

The depot represents a simple yet eye-catching example of this style with its wide expanse of curved glass, smooth-sawn Indiana limestone, and black granite base. The vertical porcelain enamel sign, trimmed in stainless steel, enhances the effect as it plays off the horizontal sweep of the window which ends in a semi-circle at the west end of the facade.

Older residents remember the elegant interior with its stainless steel stairways and birchwood cabinetry that matched the sleekness of the exterior. Although the interior no longer exists in its original form, the exterior is intact and remains a popular photographic subject in town. It has appeared in many guide books about Ann Arbor and other promotional materials and was cited in 1986 as a 'favorite building' by a majority of a panel selected by the Ann Arbor Observer.

A national journal recently commented that the "???_ old Greyhound Bus Depot, once the soul of modernity, is now often the only Art Deco component in many small towns." In its bus depot, Ann Arbor preserves its only Art Deco public structure and joins a handful of other towns which still possess these rare jewels.

Rights Held By
Photos used to illustrate Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, Michigan / by Marjorie Reade and Susan Wineberg.