Union Terminal is one of Cincinnati's most iconic buildings. Aside from being one of the best examples of Art Deco architecture anywhere in the world, Union Terminal is one of only a few massive train stations to still be utilized today. Aside from housing the Cincinnati Museum Center, Omnimax Theater, and the Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Union Terminal still houses Amtrak's operations via the Cardinal Line between New York and Chicago.
Cincinnati was not alone in constructing a beautiful train station just a few years prior to the decline of rail travel; several cities across the United States built impressive train stations that have had less fortunate fates. Detroit, for instance, built a massive train station a few miles from downtown, in a similar setting to Cincinnati's Union Terminal (Local Architecture visited Michigan Central Station two years ago). Today, Detroit's train station sits empty, having never been fully completed nor occupied. Similarly, Buffalo has a large train station that sits empty, although current efforts to reuse the building are in full swing. Even New York City lost the original Penn Station as rail travel came to a near halt in the 1960's.
Fortunately, Cincinnati was able to find alternative uses for Union Terminal and save it from decay, for the most part. Although it is beautiful from the perspective of the visitor, the behind the scenes areas of Union Terminal show the need for constant maintenance and support.
Stairwells on either side of the large half-dome lead to the access points to the area above the ceiling.
Catwalks span the width of the building between two layers of glass that make up the massive front window.
The view of the interior of Union Terminal from a catwalk between the double glazed front window.
Access to the clock is from the catwalks inside the front window. This photo shows the clock from behind.
One of the catwalks within the trusswork above the ceiling.
An access hall behind the famous murals that adorn the interior walls of the half-dome.
A back hallway in one of the upper levels of the building.