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Monday, July 9, 2012

Inside Union Terminal

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.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

The front of Cincinnati Union Terminal.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

Stairwells on either side of the large half-dome lead to the access points to the area above the ceiling.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

This photograph from 1931 shows Union Terminal under construction. The large trusses that support the roof of the half dome were the first destination of the tour. By Photographer unknown.Paultyng at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Cincinnati Union Terminal

Union Terminal as it is seen today, from a similar angle as the construction photo above.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

A location where one of several massive trusses, encased in concrete for fire-proofing reasons, passes through a floor plate.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

Catwalks span the width of the building between two layers of glass that make up the massive front window.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

The view of the interior of Union Terminal from a catwalk between the double glazed front window.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

One of the key features of Union Terminal is the massive clock that adorns the front of the building.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

Access to the clock is from the catwalks inside the front window. This photo shows the clock from behind.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

The ceiling.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

One of the catwalks within the trusswork above the ceiling.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

A view inside the roof structure.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

A view inside the roof structure, looking towards the front of the building.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

A few of the large trusses

Cincinnati Union Terminal

An access hall behind the famous murals that adorn the interior walls of the half-dome.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

A back hallway in one of the upper levels of the building.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

The rear of Union Terminal, as seen from the rail yard. One platform remains to serve passenger rail travel via the Amtrak Cardinal.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

From the roof, looking at a decaying boiler stack, out over the railyard.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

The former Union Terminal president's office, one of the renovated areas of the building.

Cincinnati Union Terminal

Another renovated section of Union Terminal, a board room near the president's office.

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