My nominee for best urban use of an old train station is in Denver. Denver’s Union Station has 9 busy restaurants and bars. It has a Beaux Art facade like St Louis’ Union Station and New York’s Grand Central. There are about 600 works of art to enjoy. You can stay in its hotel, The Crawford. You can board frequent busses, the FFs, to Boulder and be there in about an hour. What seems to work best is that this Union Station has largely kept its original use. It remains a major transportation hub.
Also high on my list of the best redone train stations are New York’s Grand Central Terminal, which I have written about, Washington, DC’s Union Station and Seattle’s King Street Station, both of which I have seen but not written about, and LA’s Union Station, which I have been in and hope to see again soon and write about.
St. Louis’ Union Station was the largest train station in the world when it opened in 1894. By the 1940s more than 100,000 people per day came through it. The first half of that decade were, of course, war years that inflated the number of visitors. The last passenger train left in 1978. The station became a derelict until it was reborn as a smart urban mart in the 1980’s. After that era faded, Union Station once again became a sad derelict.
Union Station has had a 3rd awakening. It is now an entertainment center. I have followed its fortunes over the years. For example, I wrote about it in 2012 when it was fading, in 2016 when renewal was beginning, in 2018 when progress was afoot, and in May, 2020 under the title “The Station” in which I reported on some of the new attractions. COVID temporarily closed its new aquarium, which I will soon write about.