Cincinnati Union Terminal

Out on the western edge of the urban core of Cincinnati is the Union Terminal, which while still serving rail connections for the city, is now mostly turned over to museums.

There’s a great history of the building here; it was one of the last major train stations built in America and was apparently only saved by the outbreak of World War II which required the transfer of massive numbers of soldiers through its doors.

It’s also an incredible moment in the Art-Deco, as well, and reminds me a bit of some of the details of train stations in Italy such as Santa Maria Novella in Florence.

The figure of Mercury, the messenger god and travelers, is appropriate flanking the front doors.

There are two sweeping arms that flank the central rotunda of the station.

The station cuts a dramatic profile on its raised platform, high above the Mill Creek Valley on the edge of the West End.

No detail was spared, even for the staircase from the streets below up to the main level of the train station above.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Steve Bruns says:

    More importantly, it is the model for the Super Friends Hall of Justice.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Wow, it sure is!

  2. W. White says:

    One of my favorite Cincinnati buildings, which is saying something considering the high-quality of Cincinnati’s historic architecture. That being said, I would have liked experiencing Union Terminal as it was originally constructed: integrated into the urban environment. Urban renewal associated with I-75 in the West End and what is now known as Queensgate (formerly Kenyon-Barr) has left it isolated in a sea of parking lots and low-rise industrial buildings. Unfortunately, Cincinnati seems to have learned all the wrong lessons from past urban renewal projects. Big private developments, big government urban renewal projects, and widespread, small-scale government-funded demolitions have denuded several historic (if economically depressed) neighborhoods such as the West End (the remaining portion), Avondale, Fairmount, and others. There has been a lot of change in Cincinnati’s urban environment in the past 10-15 years, and the majority of that change has not been positive.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Yeah, the annihilation of the West End was a stupid mistake, which began with the gigantic boulevard that connected the station to downtown. The new buildings popping up in the area do not have the density to reproduce the vitality of what was once there.

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