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

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County: Jackson

Region: Kansas City Metro

Type: Building

Latitude: 39.084496

Longitude: -94.585226

Photography Date: 2021

Photographer: Burke, Ellie