Union Station

Los Angeles, California | C.1939

Photo Credit: @sean.hazen

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Built in 1939, Los Angeles Union Station is the largest railroad passenger terminal in the Western United States and is widely regarded as “the last of the great train stations.” The station’s signature Mission Moderne style makes it one of L.A.’s architectural gems.

Commissioned in 1933 as a joint venture between the Southern Pacific, Union Pacific and Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroads, the station was intended to consolidate the three local railroad terminals. Father-son architect team, John and Donald Parkinson, designed the station with an innovative blend of Spanish Colonial, Mission Revival and Art Deco architecture now commonly referred to as Mission Moderne. The stunning facility was completed in 1939 for a reported $11 million. It opened with a lavish, star-studded, three-day celebration attended by a half million Angelenos.

Within just a few years of opening, the station was a bustling 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation with as many as 100 troop trains carrying tens of thousands of servicemen through the terminal every day during World War II.

In 1972, Union Station was designated as a Los Angeles Historic – Cultural Monument and in 1980, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the station is a major transportation hub for Southern California, serving almost 110,000 passengers a day. It is Amtrak’s fifth-busiest station, by far the busiest in the Western United States and the tenth-busiest in the entire country.

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