Daily departures from Union Station

In 1889, the Terminal Railroad Association was formed to handle the numerous railways entering and exiting the St. Louis area. Their goal was to build a new Union Station, to serve the increased railroad traffic.

Conquering Gotham : a Gilded Age epic : the construction of Penn Station and its tunnels
Jill Jonnes.
New York : Viking, 2007.
"As the nineteenth century ends, Pennsylvania Railroad president Alexander Cassatt seeks some way - other than huge fleets of ferries from New Jersey - to bring the PRR's tens of millions of passengers into water-locked Gotham. By 1901, the brilliant Cassatt has embarked on a course so ambitious, so visionary that it is denounced as corporate folly. Under his direction, the PRR will build a monumental system of electrified tunnels under the Hudson River, Manhattan, and the East River to Long Island, capping them all with the crown jewel of Pennsylvania Station." "And so begins a high-stakes Gilded Age drama pitting the nation's greatest corporation against the unruly forces of Tammany New York, America's richest city and most important port. Set in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., and featuring such titanic characters as J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, Theodore Roosevelt, Boss William Croker, architects Charles McKim and Stanford White, and press lord William Randolph Hearst, this riveting narrative brings to life the feats of politicking and engineering that forever changed New York's physical and psychological geography." "As the PRR secretly assembles land for a terminal amid the whorehouses and dance halls of the Tenderloin vice district, Cassatt outwits Tammany Hull politicians in a bruising fight for the necessary franchise. In the meantime, the engineers and legions of "sandhog" laborers battle the crushing forces of two rivers as they burrow year after year through treacherous glacial soils, suffering blowouts, explosions, labor troubles, and mounting fatalities. In fact, haunting the entire monumental project is a deep secret - PRR engineers fear the Hudson River tunnels aren't safe and might doom the entire project." "Nevertheless, in late 1910, Pennsylvania Station, Charles McKim's great Doric temple to transportation, opens in all its magnificence. As the first trains of the LIRR and the Pennsylvania Railroad travel swiftly under those two ancient rivers, the PRR has done what many believed impossible. It has conquered Gotham. Glittering Manhattan has been connected to the mainland and Long Island, forever Transforming the lives of millions."--BOOK JACKET.
New York's Pennsylvania Stations
Hilary Ballon ; with a photo essay by Norman McGrath and a contribution by Marilyn Jordan Taylor, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
New York : Norton, c2002.
The Creation of Pennsylvania Station (1902-1910) represented one of the great engineering feats of its time, and embodied a powerful vision of grandeur for future public architecture. This richly illustrated book tells the story of the original building, its tragic demolition in the 1960s, and the greatly anticipated opening of the new station in 2003.
St. Louis Union Station
Albert Montesi and Richard Deposki.
Chicago, IL : Arcadia, c2002.
When St. Louis' Union Station opened to the public in 1894, nearly 10,000 people gathered to celebrate. What they saw rivaled famed stations in the East, with its barrel-vaulted ceiling, sweeping archways, and Tiffany stained-glass windows. Modeled after the walled city of Carcassonne, France, Union Station was one of the busiest in the world during its heyday. Follow the history of this great architectural triumph from its original glory days through its demise and rebirth.
Grand Central : gateway to a million lives
John Belle, Maxinne R. Leighton.
New York : W.W. Norton, c2000.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 214-221) and index.
Railroad stations
Brian Solomon.
New York : Metro Books, 1998.
The grand railroad stations were designed by the world's finest architects as elaborately detailed showplaces. As gateways to cities and towns, they displayed the best each metropolis had to offer. Go on a worldwide tour of the most magnificent examples, from London's St. Pancras and Paris's sensational Gare d'Orsay to Tokyo's Shinjuko station, the busiest on earth. The exquisitely photographed journey begins with a look at the role of the railroad in the 19th and 20th centuries, from the passenger train's heyday to the present time, when nearly abandoned stations are being refitted for other uses. Find out about the different forms of stations, and how the needs of the region influenced the architectural style. Finally, see some of the classic stations that have barely changed since the first trains stopped there and take a fond look back at some lost terminals--such as New York's original Penn Station--that are gone, but not forgotten.
Station to station
Steven Parissien.
London : Phaidon, 1997.
Railway stations have long held a special place in the public's affection. The lure of the great terminus has been especially strong, the breathtaking grandeur of its architecture fused with a promise of adventure and escape. This book is a celebration of the railway station's life and architecture. It examines the history of these fascinating structures, the great events -- both fictional and real -- that have occurred there, and how they have formed an integral part of the life of the cities they serve.

Theodore C. Link, a St. Louis architect, won a national competition to design the building. His design included three main areas:

  • The Headhouse was where you purchased tickets, ate in dining rooms, sat in waiting areas (there was even a waiting area just for ladies), or stayed in a 70 room hotel.
  • The Midway was busy with activity of travelers and well wishers and had a bulletin board that displayed track numbers and train schedules.
  • The Trainshed, one of the largest ever built, was designed by George H. Pegram, who invented a truss that bears his name and is used in the main transverse truss.

On September 1, 1896, Union Station was officially opened with a night of festivities.

Union Station now

The Headhouse contains shops and restaurants along with a busy hotel.

The Midway is two levels of shops, the top level is where you can enjoy foods of different tastes.

The Trainshed is a parking lot with an indoor lake, with paddleboats, and a plaza for entertainment.

At times the station served more than 100,000 passengers a day. Other memorable events include:

  • During the 1904 World's Fair a train left every minute to transport fair goers to the fair grounds.
  • Fans met the 1942 Championship St. Louis Cardinals when they returned after winning in New York.
  • In 1948 President Harry Trumanís most famous picture with a copy of the Chicago Tribune and it's "Dewey Beats Truman" headline.

The last train pulled out of St. Louis Union Station in 1978. In August 1985, after extensive renovation, St. Louis Union Station celebrated its grand reopening. It helped revitalized downtown St. Louis and became an entertainment center with dozens of restaurants, shops, movie theatres and live entertainment. In 1976 the building was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Today Union Station continues to offer a place where visitors can shop, eat, and stay.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff