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Washington DC Photo Gallery Union Station in...

Union Station in Washington DC

Opened on October 27, 1907 and completed in 1908, Union Station is considered to be one of the finest examples of the Beaux-Arts style of architecture. Architect, Daniel Burnham designed the building to be monumental in every respect and to serve as a gateway for the capital city.

At the time it was built, the Station covered more ground than any other building in the United States and was the largest train station in the world. The Station sits on the edge of an area once known as "Swam poodle," an infamous shantytown located on the sewer-y remnants of Tiber Creek. The total area occupied by the Station and the terminal zone was originally about 200 acres and included 75 miles of tracks. In fact, if put on its side, the Washington Monument could lie within the confines of the Station's concourse.

Union Station brought to the nation's capital a new grandeur that echoed the Chicago World's Fair and began Washington's monumental transformation. Seventy pounds of 22-karat gold leaf adorned the 96-foot barrel-vaulted, coffered ceilings. The white granite and classic lines of Union Station set the stage for the next 40 years of Washington's classic architecture - reflected in the construction of the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials and the Supreme Court building. The cost was monumental as well - $125 million for the Station and its approaches.

In many ways, Union Station was a city within a city. At various times it employed a staff of over 5,000 people and provided such amenities as a bowling alley, mortuary, baker, butcher, YMCA, hotel, ice house, liquor store, Turkish baths, first-class restaurant, nursery, police station, and a silver-monogramming shop.

As train travel was the mode of transportation for even U.S. Presidents in the early 1900s, a Presidential Suite was added to Union Station (now B. Smith's Restaurant). In 1909, President Taft was the first President to use the room and over the years many dignitaries were officially welcomed here, including King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain, King Albert I of Belgium, King Prajadhipok of Siam, Queen Marie of Romania, and King Haasan II of Morocco.

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Giant tapestry at Union Station courtesy of Amtrak

Hung above Gate E at Union Station is a massive tapestry depicting an Amtrak high-speed Acela Express train which serves the North East Corridor railroads of the United States, the U.S.s' most heavily traveled section of railway due to the heavy...

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