Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Long Distance Road Trip ~ St. Louis Part 1

At this year's Spring Break, rather than "headin' down to Padre" or "Doing Disney for the umteenth time," we took out the map and drew a one day drive arc on the map. After considering all the possibilities, we decide to head North to St. Louis, "Gateway to the West", for a trip containing history and culture. As the "Gateway," transportation has always played an important role in the history of this city. So one of our first stops was the historic Union Station, located on Market Street in downtown.

The architecture of the station is an eclectic mix of Romanesque styles. The exterior details are a combination of both Richardsonian Romanesque tradition and French Romanesque or Norman style. In fact, architect, Theodore Link, modeled the grandiose Union Station after Carcassone, a walled, medieval city in southern France. The station's clock tower rises 280 feet high and is one of the skylines most distictive landmarks.

Market Street Entrance at night.

Grand Hall (Marriott Hotel Lobby), below is a 1909 postcard of the lobby:

Allegorical Window (above) is a hand-made stained glass window with hand-cut Tiffany glass strategically positioned above the Station's main entryway. The window features three women representing the main U.S. train stations during the 1890s -- New York, St. Louis and San Francisco.

Detail with Old Courthouse and "Miss St. Louis."

The Gothic Hall Ceiling

The old Union Station Movie Theater.

The Train Shed, 11.5 acres of sweeping arches, was the largest single-span train shed ever constructed. It once covered the greatest number of train tracks (32) more than any other station in the nation. Today, in addition to housing Hard Rock Cafe, a Landry's Seafood, and the guest rooms for the Marriott, the shed also houses an entertainment mall.

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