It was a bit of a challenge for me to make out the sign on the train station: Durand. Turns out that it’s a historic station that is both home to three small train history museums as well as still being used once per day by Amtrak, for its Blue Water service between Chicago and Port Huron. But once upon a time, it was a bustling place, serving two railroads and 42 passenger trains per day.
In 1966, when this shot was taken, three passenger trains per day stopped in Durand, operated by the Grand Trunk RR (Canadian National in Canada) with service from Chicago to Toronto, via, Port Huron and London. So it’s theoretically possible that couple heading for that Cadillac 75 limo might have come there by train, but for what? Durand is a small (now less than 4,000) railroad town. A wild weekend in Durand to take in the nightlife?
The Durand station was built in 1903, at the crossing of the Grand Trunk RR and the Ann Arbor Railroad. At its peak, over 150 trains of all sorts passed here, hopefully not running into others at the crossings (two, no less), which is not that common. The Ann Arbor called it quits with passenger service in 1950, and the then the Grand Trunk pulled the plug on its last passenger trains in 1971. But Amtrak revived service in 1974, to Port Huron with its Blue Water service. Between 1984 and 2004 was instead served by the modern incarnation of the International Limited, operated jointly by Via Rail and Amtrak between Chicago and Toronto.
When interurbans connected EVERYTHING and ran 70 MPH, executives often lived in places like Durand. This ad might have seemed nostalgic to the GM execs.
I don’t think so; Durant was a blue collar town. They all lived in Bloomfield Hills and Grosse Pointe and such.
Nice piece of history! Thanks.
Some kids of mine recently bought a house in a city neighborhood developed in the few years either side of the turn of the last century. Looking at some old maps, it is easy to see how nobody in a decent-sized midwestern city had any need for a car in the early days of the automobile. There were streetcar lines all over (including one that ran on their street) and interurban lines running every which direction. This gives me new appreciation of how Henry Ford’s main market was people who lived in farms and smaller communities where transportation was not so convenient.
And where the limo is clearly in a parking place, does it look to anyone else like the lady in the red convertible is parked on the road? “My husband is important. We have plans and I’m in a hurry.”
I love the Durand station and pass it every time I ride the Amtrak to and from Flint. A gorgeous piece of architecture. When we get to Durand, I start putting my things back in my bag(s), as Flint is the next stop. A perfect setting for this Cadillac.
As a kid,growing up in a small town with several railroads running through and close to us, I would lay in my bed with windows open on a summer night 🌙, listening to the haunting sounds of steam locomotives. Always wondered where they were going and always wanted to ride one. Never got the chance 😕. By the time I was old enough, the steamers were gone. Our beautiful historic train stations have been demolished, and time marches right over the top of you! Still live in what has become a large city obsessed with destroying most of beautiful historic buildings so developers can make big bucks! Remember song that says PAVE PARADISE to put up a PARKING LOT. Sometimes TIME marches right OVER you! 😔 😟! Have never ridden on a train. No desire to now that the steam locomotives are gone. Was a frequent flyer when younger, but now that is problematic. 🤮. As Archie and Edith sang, THOSE WERE the DAYS! Thanks for this great post bringing back wonderful memories! 👍
A beautiful piece of architectural history. Glad they have had sense enough to preserve the original building.
The ad refers to new features, probably because 1966 was the first year that the Fleetwood Seventy-Five Sedan and the Limousine were built on the body and chassis that was adopted by the Calais, DeVille, and the other Fleetwoods the previous year.
The ‘65 Fleetwood Seventy-Five Sedan and the Limousine retained the ‘64 body and chassis, which probably looked a bit dated next to the sleek, more modern lines of the other ‘65s. But since I’d imagine that almost all of the factory stretch Cadillacs were special orders, I doubt that many shared the showroom floor with their shorter siblings.
I’ve been to this rail road station MANY time – I was raised just a short drive away !!!!!
Regarding the Limo ad, my late brother once had a 1968 Series 75 FULL Limo. Absolutely magnificent elegant, classy automobile. Riding in it was like floating on a Cloud incomplete comfort. Factory built limos were so much better than the stretched versions that followed. Now so called Limos, built on SUVs are just plain UGLY with NO CLASS! Have owned RWD FLEETWOODS, TOWN CARS, and other Luxury vehicles. Now even those are gone! When did elegance and tradition die? Old 🐕 dog, NOT ready for new tricks? 😉 😠.
: A thing of beauty is a joy forever “.
Class never goes out of style.
We who cannot stand the SUV , sloppy dress & manners trend are not the old dogs ; but those who follow shallow mass trends are .
I refuse to buy a pickup (its for WORK) , SUV , or Crossover & know people who own multiple vehicles & they prefer their cars – sedan’s.
Cadillac & GM DESTROYED Cadillac and for that matter Olds , Pontiac & soon Buick trying to reinvent itself.
I appreciate everything you wrote .
Your on target response is greatly appreciated! The entire auto industry has turned into a cesspool of stupidity. Fortunate to have beautiful low mileage 2007 Town Car Signature Limited ♥ which I will never let go! GMs destruction of traditional brands was matched when PONTIAC was axed. Long time local BUICK dealer had franchise pulled and was given to higher volume former PONTIAC dealer! 🤮. The world seems to continually descend .Guess as to the two of us, GREAT minds still run in the same channel! 🏆. Old Cole Porter song 🎵 ANY THING GOES certainly applies even more today!
Cadillac Man ;
Well put .
I get flack because I wear wingtips when I’m working .
They’re an old pair that no longer shines up so why toss out good steel toed & shanked shoes ? .
I’ve always had work trucks, never a fancy one .
My current truck ’01 Ford Ranger has rubber mats and so on, I love it, it’s not a ‘hair shirt’ to me .
I’m servicing and cleaning it (spilled coffee on the mats dang it) to be ready to drive to Death Valley with a Motocycle in the back soon…..
Could this possibly be the peak year for Cadillac? I recall that in the late sixties the elegance and luxury seemed to slip a bit, a trend that accelerated in the seventies.
Love the ad. Two totally different Caddy’s awaiting the arrival two very similar wealthy executives for the trip back to Grosse Pointe.
> When did elegance and tradition die?
We had a thread a week or two ago about the 1980-84 Cadillac 75, their last purpose-built factory limos before they briefly built an even-more-shrunken FWD version, where we discussed how over the decades limousines went from high-end luxury vehicles for the wealthy who preferred to be chauffeured, to déclassé, gaudy, rented “stretch limos” to transport drunken teens on high school prom night. At best, when I see a modern stretch limo I think it’s being rented for a wedding (or a funeral if there’s a procession). I certainly don’t think of rich people being driven by a chauffeur for their convenience.
Even when real purpose-built limos were still being made by Cadillac and others, I can’t recall them being used frequently as personal chauffeur-driven cars. This is still common in some parts of the world, like China. When did rich people in the U.S. start driving themselves rather than prefer being driven around by someone else? I’m guessing sometime before or just after WW2.
As posted in one of my previous posts, my late brother had a 69 Series 75 which was used for various purposes. A very successful business man with multiple locations, he believed he could work in the car while traveling between locations. He soon realized he was not really achieving his goal. In addition, many thought he was puting on airs. He soon traded the 75 limo for a car he drove himself…a Silver Shadow 😳! ! ! Go figure 🤔
Unlike today’s ads where they are constantly showing vehicles flying around on dirt, rocks, sand, snow or racing down a road, these types of ads are what appeals to me much more. I’ve often thought that Cadillac’s ads from the 70’s and 80’s were some of the best.
Amen! 🏆. Luxury vehicles used to be seen on TV ads coming from a distance building anticipation to watch magnificent vehicle shine slowly passing,and giving opportunity to appreciate ! Of course those vehicles were classy. Today’s vehicles have NO CLASS, much like the customers manufacturers want to grab with speed! Just a microcosm of the whole world. So sad 😞 and frightening! 😎
Rick, you nailed it. When I think back, there are two ads that come to mind specifically. First was for the 1979 and it was a red DeVille sitting in from of an all white (large) elegant home. It was sitting at an angle showing mostly the passenger front corner flowing back to the rear. No people in the ad. Just the house, driveway, greenery and the beautiful car. The caption said something like “The best salesman Cadillac Ever Had”. Being younger at that time, I found it odd that there was no sales person in the ad until a few years later I realized it was saying the car was the best salesman. I still have that ad framed and in my house.
The second was a TV commercial that was shot in the town I grew up in. They used a house set about 1/8th mile from the highway. Large white home, blacktop drive with huge trees flanking each side of the drive. In front of the house was a turn-around and they filmed the Cadillac DeVille (1985 or 1986) pulling away from the house and driving down the drive. Just stunning commercial. The fun thing is that is was filmed at our friends estate.
Happy to see someone else who appreciates the glory days of advertising as an Art Form. I believe it was Diana Vreeland 🤔 who said Fashion goes out of Style, but Style Never goes out of Style (as well as CLASS)! What ever happened to CLASS? Gone With the Wind. 😉. We must have a long talk some day about the Civil War, just us two! ( Marie Dressler ,DINNERS at Eight, 1930 something)🏰. 😎
I love it when we’re able to connect photos in old ads or brochures with real places. The photo here has a time-travel aura to it.
What’s interesting to me about this Durand train station is that it appears to have been a major station at a junction of several lines, but in a town of only 3,000 people. It’s a remarkable structure for a town of this size – and while many small junction towns were able to grow during the railroads’ heyday, it seems that Durand was bypassed by that growth.
I took my first ride on Amtrak last year, it was a short jaunt from San Jose to Martinez. You could tell that I was a first time rider, instead of looking at my phone or computer, I was the one looking out the window the entire trip! The railway follows a route different from all the familiar highways I’ve driven on for over fifty years. I enjoyed looking in the commercial and residential backyards. I hope to take some longer rides this year.
Traditional limos exude an aura of exclusiveness and class, though I’d rather drive myself in that red convertible!
Now everyone has a “chauffeur app” on their phones, just call for an Uber.
If you ever have the opportunity, I’d recommend the Auto Train from Virginia to Florida. It’s a unique experience with some very nice scenery as well.
I’m guessing that large a station has a hotel upstairs, a dining room, and a room for salesmen to display their wares to the locals.
My mother spoke of taking the train with her mother to Raleigh or Richmond to go shopping in the 40s, but my other grandparents had to drive their big Buick from NC to Annapolis to watch my dad play JV football, because it was then the only state capital without a rail line. It was a two day trip, mostly on Rt 1, but my dad was a spoiled only child.
Actually, Durand was served by eight trains a day in 1966, two in each direction on the Chicago division, Chicago to Port Huron with connections to Toronto and Montreal, and two in each direction on the Detroit division, Detroit to Durand, with one set making a run through to and from Chicago and the other two making connections with two of the previous Chicago division trains.
So lovely, the cars and the station .
Rail travel is nice, I did a fair bit of it from ’59 ~ ’63, the local R.R. station still had a coal fired stove to keep it warm in the Winter but most weekends no one bothered to keep it lit so we froze .
Steamers are so neat ~ there used to be steam trains all over the place for tourists etc.
Great Ad. As with many it is a composite where the cars must have been photographed somewhere else. If you compare it to that b/w photo, there should have been several sets of tracks in the area where the Cadillacs are.
Durand ended up with such a large facility because it was a major junction for the Grand Trunk Western (the Midwest subsidiary of CN). This is where the mainline from Chicago-Toronto crossed the line from Detroit to Grand Rapids/Muskegon & the Lake Michigan ferries. There was/is a large freight yard in Durand & that large station building included the main dispatching offices for the GTW in Michigan.
At some point in the ’60s or ’70s the Ann Arbor track that ran along the NE side of the building was combined with the GTW track from Detroit on the SW side of the building, but otherwise things look much the same today.