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Union Station
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Union Station

All photographs taken by Kenneth A. Larson. All rights reserved. © 2003 - 2017.


Union Station opened on May 8, 1939, on the eve of World war II. It is considered "The last of America's great rail stations," because no stations were built during the war and rail traffic declined after the war. Union Station was a very busy place during the war but the post-war years were not as good. The rise of automobile and air travel cut deeply into rail traffic. With the creation of Amtrak, rail travel improved slightly, but in recent years, Union Station has become a major commuter center with the creation in the 1990s of the Metro system with a growing number of subway and light-rail lines (Metro Rail, Metrolink) terminating at Union Station. Amtrak has also been growing in popularity. Adjacent to Union Station, a new bus terminal and Metro Headquarters office complex has added to the increased importance. The depot handles 200 trains a day Monday through Friday.

Prior to the construction of Union Station, the five railroads had individual stations and tracks mingled with roads. Accidents between the many trains and vehicles prompted the city to force the consolidation of trains into one station. The Los Angeles Union Station Terminal was built in cooperation with the Union Pacific Railroad (arrived 1905), the Southern Pacific Railroad (arrived 1876), the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (arrived 1885), and some smaller lines. Union Station was designed by John and Donald Parkinson (Parkinson and Parkinson) in1939. It is a mix of Spanish Colonial Revival and Art Deco Architectural styles, with Moorish influences. The floor plan forms a cross. The building has outdoor waiting areas with tiled fountains. The original China Town was torn down in 1933 to make space for this building. The original cost was $8.5 million (or over $11 million) . In 1963, Southern Pacific and Union Pacific sold their interests to Sant aFe which operated it through its Catellus Development Corporation division until 2012.

The movie "Union Station" used the station as a location and shows how it looked at it's peak.

About 2013, the MTA bought the depot and began a major renovation.

Designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #101 in 1972. National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Located at 800 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, California, across the street from El Pueblo de Los Angeles (Olvera Street).

Union Station
Main entrance, northwest facade. Photo Date: 11-18-95.
From El Pueblo de Los Angeles
Photo date: 1-5-93.
Union Station
Entrance to north wing. Photo Date: 11-18-95.

Main entrance, northwest facade. Photo Date: 3-30-14.
The Art Deco bell tower is 127 feet tall.
The Art Deco bell tower is 127 feet tall.


Doors with 8-pointed star.

Islamic crosses.
Union Station
11-18-95.
Union Station
North wing (ticket concourse) being readied for an event. Photo Date: 11-18-95.

Ticket Concourse. Photo Date: 3-30-14.
The Ticket Concourse is the largest space in the depot. It was once filled with travelers. Today it is largely unused.



A wall in the ticket concourse. At top are tiles made of ground corncobbs and glue. Middle is travertine and below is tile by gladding McBean.

The waiting area has a high vaulted ceiling. The walls are covered with the same acoustical tiles, travertine, and tiles as the ticket concourse.

Union Station
Main waiting area. Photo Date: 11-18-95.
Union Station
Main waiting area. Photo Date: 11-18-95.
Waiting Room
Main waiting area. Photo Date: 11-18-95.

A crank could be inserted in this receptical to operate the blinds.

The "Union Station Chair" in the waiting area, believed to be the only use of this design. Made by Angeles Furniture Company.


Tracks Restaurant.

South patio South patio
South patio. Photo Date: 11-18-95.

Fountain.









When originally built, there were 22 tracks and it was a stub-end station, meaning there were no through tracks, trains backed in. Today a through track has been added for the Metro. Butterfly awnings.
Catenary for electric trains.

Harvey House Restaurant

Opened same time as station and closed about 1969, designed by Mary Colter.

Harvy House Restaurant
Harvy House Restaurant. Photo Date: 11-18-95.
Union Station
Large space, now used for special events. Photo Date: 11-18-95.


























The expansion and modern ara

The East Portal was added in 1985.

McLarand, Vasquez, & Partners, Inc.


MTA Office Tower
MTA office tower. Photo Date: 3-15-97.


Looking out from the MTA Office Tower. Photo Date: 3-15-97.
Union Station is once again a vital, active transportation hub. The following photographs show the recent new construction.

New Union Station
New Union Station. Photo Date: 3-15-97.

Public Art in the new Union Station. Photo Date: 3-15-97.



Public Art in the new Union Station. Photo Date: 3-15-97.

New Union Station
New Union Station. Photo Date: 3-15-97.
New Union Station
Public Art in the new Union Station. Photo Date: 3-15-97.

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This page last updated: Friday, 26-Dec-2014 00:27:07 EST

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Note:This is not the official site for any of the places shown in Places Earth. Places Earth is not responsible for accuracy of the information. Hours of operations, prices, exhibits, and sometimes locations are subject to change without notice.

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