Union Station

Seattle, Washington | C.1910

Photo Credit: Rachel Bishop


Entering the Great Hall of Union Station in Seattle, Washington, you may find yourself so taken by its 55-foot vaulted ceilings, arched concourse, and hypnotic, hexagonally tiled floors that you don’t notice that there are no train tracks leading into or out of the station. Despite its visual splendor and apparent purpose, it has long ceased to serve as a railway hub.

At the turn of the century, the Klondike gold rush attracted 200,000 seekers of fortune to Seattle, and by 1911 the city’s population had quadrupled. With little warning, this Pacific Northwest town was no longer a small outpost. To look the part, Seattle embellished its packed new streets with architecture that would make the town appear to be a sophisticated metropolis. Union Station, in all its Beaux-Arts elegance, was built to place the city on a cultural par with San Francisco and other West Coast destinations.

However, Union Station struggled to keep up with increased automobile and ferry traffic. By 1971, the building was abandoned, with six inches of bird droppings blanketing its water-damaged floors and walls on the verge of collapse. It remained in this state of neglect until the late 1990s, when a resurgence of Seattle urban renewal projects brought about a recognition that there might be value in a restored Union Station.

Devoted individuals stepped forward to make this endeavor possible, including the seventy-eight-year-old man who had serviced the station’s clock decades earlier. Volunteering his skills, he repaired the face and arms of the iconic timepiece, allowing it to tick and tock just as it once had.

📖 Full Story Page 26

Create an account to comment! Login/Sign Up.

Log in

Need an account? Sign up

Sign up

Already have an account? Log In

Enter your email to reset your password

Enter your new password