Built in grand Gothic style in 1881, Union station has been a permanent landmark in Denver for over 130 years.
Originally each train company built its own train station, they were meant to be used for that train company. The concept of a Union station where all trains could come into started gaining national appeal right when the Union depot and RR company built Union Depot (later station) in 1881 for a cost of $525,000.
I tell you that number because, dang, this current renovation cost about $500 million! Included in the current plan: move the bus terminal from Market to Union Station, build a new cover for train platform, renovate the inside of Union station and build a hotel inside as well as eateries, transform the front parking lots into green space and fountains (which takes the space back to the way it was in the 1880′s), build lofts and office spaces, parking garage, connect new train line from airport and new line going out to Golden and outdoor shopping.
How do you get to the opening of the station….by train of course.
We took the D line to the mall, then the bus to the end of the line and took the underground bus station to Union station.
By then we were hungry, so we ate pizza at Anthony’s, nothing fills you up like a NY pizza pie.
(Yes, the pizza really is that big, it’s not just the way I took the picture.)
A bit of history of the Depot: In 1894 the building was burned by a fire that started in the ladies restroom, the clock tower and roof were damaged.
The clock tower was rebuilt from stone, the roof was lowered and in 1906 the Mizpah arch was dedicated.
The arch was taken down in 1931 after being deemed a traffic hazard, but since you can’t park in front of Union station now, maybe they will bring the arch back (doubt it, but one doesn’t have to look too far to see the Mizpah sign in LoDo.)
The stone tower got torn down in 1914 and was replaced by the clock we still see today and the lower center section.
The arches that line the walls of the great hall have 2,300 carved columbine flowers on them.
During the 20′s and 30′s the station greeted up to 80 trains a day; up until 1958 more people came to Denver by train than through Stapleton airport. It’s fun to see old pics and new ones side by side.
All of that said, we were super excited to see this:
Do you see it at the bottom? Yes, that says Denver’s Littleman ice cream.
If you are downtown and don’t want to walk up and over a bridge, across the park, across another bridge and up a hill to get your LM fix, you can just hop into Union station to get your fill. Need a drink? Terminal bar is where the old ticket booth was located.
(Same place, this picture is only a few years old.)
Need frippery and fun? That can be found at 5 Green Boxes.
Snooze incorporated some train art into its eatery.
Tattered Cover is small, but full of good reads (we bought a copy of Denver streets: Names, Numbers, Locations, Logic by Phil H Goodstein.)
The Crawford Hotel unearthed some unique items during renovation/construction and has put items on display for the public in their halls and on display in private in the rooms for rent.
I love that tub.
In the room we toured there was a frame of 3 stereograph pictures that some little kid probably lost at Union station back in the 1890′s. There are bits of train tickets, cab receipts, notes, money and more. I’m hoping to get a tour of the public art as a co-op this fall.
We got home and rested for a bit before heading to church. It was VBS this week, so today was family service day. We had a service just like the kids had during the week and then ate wings outside in the rain. I’m thankful for the shade and rain, just wish it hadn’t made my wings soggy.
We’re gearing up for a busy week here, so we’re taking it easy tomorrow.