Kansas City Union Station

By | January 6, 2011

Built in 1914, Union Station Kansas City in Kansas City, Missouri, is one of many union stations in America. This is a North American term for a train station where tracks and facilities are shared by two or more railway companies.

Union Station sits on 850,000 square feet of land and started with 900 rooms. In its heyday, the station served thousands of passengers every year. During World War II, about one million travelers passed through the station. The North Waiting Room (now the Sprint Festival Plaza) was capable of holding 10,000 people and there were restaurants, a cigar store, barber shop, railroad offices, the large Railway Express Building (for shipping freight and mail), and a powerhouse that provided steam and power.

But all that changed when the station closed in the 1980s. Striped of is former glory, the station was abandoned and neglected, escaping demolition several times. Thanks to a historic bi-state initiative that was passed in 1996, the station was renovated and reopened in 1999.

Today, the fully-restored landmark is Kansas City’s premiere destination for cultural and entertainment events. It is a poplar destination for people who enjoy fine dining, unique shops or those who simply want to mail letters. Tourists from around the world come to admire the Grand Hall’s 95-foot ceiling, its three 3,500-pound chandeliers, and the six-foot wide clock hanging at the station’s central arch.

There’s also a permanent rail exhibit called the KC Rail Experience, exhibit spaces for the Smithsonian and other organizations, a planetarium, an interactive science center called Science City and a Theater District featuring giant-screen movies and live theater.

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