Union Station - Houston, Texas
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member JimmyEv
N 29° 45.419 W 095° 21.422
15R E 272084 N 3294185
Quick Description: Railroad stations were once the gateway to a city and were designed to be impressive, monumental structures. Houston’s Union Station was designed by Warren and Wetmore, the architects of New York’s Grand Central Station.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 7/5/2007 6:05:12 PM
Waymark Code: WM1T8E
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 84

Long Description:

Houston’s rival Harrisburg was the first city along Buffalo Bayou to get a railroad, the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos & Colorado. The 7-mile Houston Tap Railroad was built in the 1850s, from Houston to Pierce Junction where it joined the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos & Colorado, to divert trade from Harrisburg. Allen Station, located at Commerce and Hutchins, was the Tap’s first depot.

The Tap was successful at diverting rail traffic to Houston, and was only the beginning of Houston’s rail industry. By 1910, 16 rail lines served Houston. Construction of a Union Station began in 1909 and took three years. The terminal, occupying the entire block between Texas and Prairie Avenues, was built for four lines: the Missouri Pacific; the Houston Belt & Terminal; the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe; and the Burlington-Rock Island lines. Two lines serving Houston, the Southern Pacific and M-K-T lines, retained their own stations.

The station’s concourse had 13 tracks capable of holding 140 passenger trains. The network of rails, along with the freight terminal, covered 13 city blocks. The waiting room held two-stories of fluted columns. The walls were three kinds of marble – Belgian, Tennessee, and Vermont – with walnut woodwork. Electric chandeliers hung from the ceiling. Houston was intent upon having an impressive station.

By 1969, only one passenger train served Houston, using a station on the western side of town. As in many other towns, the city’s grand Union Station had been abandoned. Luckily (and unusual for Houston) it wasn’t demolished. Years after it had ceased to be useful as a train station, Union Station was the central design element for Houston’s new ballpark, the Ballpark at Union Station, now Minute Maid Park.

Street address:
501 Crawford Street
Houston, Texas USA

County / Borough / Parish: Harris County

Year listed: 1977

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering

Periods of significance: 1900-1924

Historic function: Railroad Station

Current function: Ballpark

Privately owned?: yes

Hours of operation: From: 10:00 AM To: 2:00 PM

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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