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History of St. Louis Union Station and how it’s been restored for the next generation

"We’re giving the new generation an opportunity to have their own Union Station story"

ST. LOUIS — The iconic Arch at the riverfront symbolizes St Louis being the gateway to the west. But St Louis Union Station is another local landmark that was instrumental to people getting from one side of America to the other.

“Meant a lot to the development of St Louis,” said Sara Newell with St Louis Union Station Hotel.

The station was built in 1894 and continues to stand the test of time.

“The condition that it is in is unbelievable,” said Newell.

The Grand Hall is eye catching.

“So opulent,” Amber Lanwermeyer with Lodging and Hospitality Management told 5 On Your Side.

The ceilings are high and impressive.

 “Sixty-five-foot barrel vaulted ceilings,” Newell said.

When Union Station first opened, it brought the east to the west.

“One-hundred-thousand people a day coming and going at its peak in the 1940s,” said Amanda Clark of the Missouri Historical Society.

People can still get glimpses of the building’s past. The glass floor from the original terminal hotel remains intact.

“Underneath it was the communal washroom,” said Newell.

The original elevators of the old hotel continue to work. It used to be only way to get to your room.

“There were no stairs. When you checked in, you got a piece of rope. And if there was a fire, you were to tie the rope around the bannister and that’s how you got downstairs,” said Newell.

But over the years fewer guests were checking in and few trains were on the tracks.

“There were only a handful of trains leaving every day,” said Clark.

The last train departed Union Station in the late 1970s.

“There were other ways of getting places faster,” Clark said.

But fast forward to today and restorations have brought life back to the station.

“Everybody wants it to be as grand as it once was,” said Newell.

What is happening now is a blending of the old and the new.

“Just the beginning for us,” said Lanwermeyer.

The new bar in the Grand Hall is as long as the ceiling is tall.

“All of these new additions are incredible,” Clark said.

Union Station may no longer be a connection to other places, but the hope is for the station to continue connecting with people and leaving them with a lasting impression.

“We’re giving the new generation an opportunity to have their own Union Station story,” Newell said.

You can learn more about Union Station and it’s attraction by clicking here.

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