Architect Theodore Link
Architectural style Romanesque Revival
St. Louis Union Station, a National Historic Landmark, was a passenger train terminal in St. Louis, Missouri. Once the world's largest and busiest train station, it was converted in the early 1980s into a hotel, shopping center, and entertainment complex. Today, it serves only local rail (MetroLink) transit passengers.
The station opened on September 1, 1894, and was owned by the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis. Designed by Theodore Link, it included three main areas: the Headhouse, the Midway and the 11.5-acre (47,000 m2) Train Shed. The headhouse originally housed a hotel, a restaurant, passenger waiting rooms and railroad ticketing offices. It featured a gold-leafed Grand Hall, Romanesque arches, a 65-foot (20 m) barrel-vaulted ceiling and stained-glass windows. The clock tower is 280 feet (85 m) high.
Union Station's headhouse and midway are constructed of Indiana limestone and initially included 42 tracks under its vast trainshed terminating in the stub-end terminal.
At its height, the station combined the St. Louis passenger services of 22 railroads, the most of any single terminal in the world. At its opening, it was the world's largest and busiest railroad station and its trainshed was the largest roof span in the world. In 1903, the station was expanded to accommodate visitors to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.
In the 1940s, it handled 100,000 passengers a day. The famous photograph of Harry S. Truman holding aloft the erroneous Chicago Tribune headline, "Dewey Defeats Truman", was shot at the station as Truman headed back to Washington, DC from Independence, Missouri after the 1948 Presidential election.
The 1940s expansion added a new ticket counter designed as a half-circle and a mural by Louis Grell could be found atop the customer waiting area which depicted the history of St. Louis with an old fashion steam engine, two large steamboats and the Eads Bridge in the background.
As airliners became the preferred mode of long-distance travel and railroad passenger services declined in the 1950s and 1960s, the massive station became obsolete and too expensive to maintain for its original purpose. With the takeover of national rail passenger service by Amtrak in 1971, passenger train service to St. Louis was reduced to only three trains a day. Amtrak stopped using Union Station on October 31, 1978; the six trains daily did not justify such a large facility. The last to leave Union Station was a Chicago-bound Inter-American. Passenger service shifted to an "Amshack" one block east, now the site of the Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center.
In August 1985, after a $150 million renovation designed by HOK, Union Station was reopened with a 539-room hotel, shopping mall, restaurants and food court. Federal historic rehabilitation tax credits were used to transform Union Station into one of the city's most visited attractions. The station rehabilitation by Conrad Schmitt Studios remains one of the largest adaptive re-use projects in the United States. The hotel is housed in the headhouse and part of the train shed, which also houses a lake and shopping, entertainment and dining establishments. Omni was the original hotel operator, followed by Hyatt Regency Hotel chain and Marriott Hotels.
In January 2010, St. Louis Union Station is under major redevelopment with the expansion of the station's Marriott Hotel in the main terminal building. The hotel will take over the Midway area of the station and all stores have been relocated to the train shed shopping arcade. These major improvements and redevelopments will be finished by 2011 according to Marriott St. Louis Union Station.
Lodging Hospitality Management bought Union Station in 2012. It rebranded the hotel as a DoubleTree.
Some architectural elements from the building have been removed in renovations and taken to the Sauget, Illinois storage site of the St. Louis Building Arts Foundation.
Text from Wikipedia
fresh chips served in newsprint
rustic club sandwich
shop area in the renovated trainshed
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