Union Station Kansas City

1914 - Present

On October 30, 1914, Kansas City’s Union Station opened to the public before a crowd of 100,000 people. Designed by the Chicago-based architect Jarvis Hunt, the Beaux-Arts style building is perhaps the city’s best representation of the City Beautiful Movement. Union Station is over 850,000 square feet and features ornate ceiling details, a grand hall, chandeliers, among other extravagant elements. The building also provided travelers with numerous amenities, including restaurants, stores, a barbershop, a post office, a drug store, and even an emergency hospital space. At the time of its opening, Union Station was the third-largest train station in the country. By its peak in the 1940s, nearly 700,000 passengers traveled through Union Station annually.

The postwar years signaled a decline in railroad traffic as air travel and interstate highways became the preferred modes of transportation. With a decrease in passengers over the following decades, restaurants and shops closed, and by 1985, Amtrak moved its operations to a smaller facility. In 1996, residents of the Kansas City metropolitan area approved a bi-state tax to save Union Station. The renovated building serves as an operating train station and tourist attraction that offers multiple theatres, world-class exhibits, and a children’s science center. Today, Union Station stands as a monument to Kansas City’s prominence as a transportation hub.

Object Details

Categories: Arts & Culture, Cities & Towns, Health, Science & Technology

Date: 1914 - Present

Subject: Union Station (Kansas City, Mo.)

Contributing Institution: Springfield-Greene County Library District

Copy Request: The Springfield-Greene County Library District offers broad public access to its collection to enhance education and scholarship. Written permission is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected images(s) beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. For more information on using this image, contact the Springfield-Greene County Library District.

Rights: The Springfield-Greene County Library District does not hold copyright on many of the materials in the Local History & Genealogy collection. Patrons assume all responsibility for obtaining the necessary permissions for publication and further use, and assume sole responsibility for any infringement of the literary rights, copyrights, or other rights which pertain to these materials.

County: Jackson

Region: Kansas City Metro

Type: Building

Latitude: 39.084496

Longitude: -94.585226

Photography Date: 2021

Photographer: Burke, Ellie

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