Capitol Hill in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Delaware Avenue & Columbus Circle, NE
—UNION STATION – Architecture by Daniel Burnham 1908 —
With the growth of air travel, the station fell increasingly into disuse. A mid-1970’s attempt to revitalize it as a “National Visitor Center” failed. The building was closed in 1981. Later that year the Congress enacted the Union Station Redevelopment Act, and the 1985 - 1988 renovation project restored the building’s grandeur. Today, in addition to serving Amtrak, MARC and Metrorail travellers, the station houses over a hundred shops and restaurants and hosts exhibitions and international cultural events.
In front of the entrance to the station stands a 45-foot-tall marble fountain monument to Christopher Columbus, topped by a 15-foot figure of the explorer. It was created by sculptor Lorado Taft, who worked with Daniel Burnham on its design.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Pennsylvania Railroad marker series.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 50 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Washington DC 20002, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Christopher Columbus (within shouting distance of this marker); “The President’s Trees” (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Freedom Bell (about 300 feet away); All Aboard! (about 700 feet away); Gateway to The Nation's Capital (about 700 feet away); Famine-Genocide in Ukraine (approx. 0.2 miles away); Swampoodle (approx. 0.2 miles away); Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Capitol Hill.
Regarding Delaware Avenue & Columbus Circle, NE.
1. Books about Union Station include;
Highsmith, Carol M. and Landphair, Ted (1988) Union Station A Decorative History of Washington's Grand Terminal. (Chelsea Publishing, Washington)
Highsmith, Carol M. and Landphair, Ted (1998) Union Station A History of Washington's Grand Terminal (Union Station Venture, Washington)
2. Additional background
Washington's Union Station replaced two railroad
There were several reasons to build this grand structure. One was to enhance presidential security. James Garfield had been assassinated in one of the nearby stations. There is (or was) a room in Union Station whose sole function was to give Presidents a secure place to wait for trains. Another reason was the growing global power and influence of the United States. Congress decided that the nation's capital needed a railroad terminal that would serve as a "Palace To Transportation;" that is, a building worthy of an international city. A third reason was that Congress wanted to transform the National Mall from a mishmash of swamp, canals and railroad tracks into a "Monumental Core" for the nation's capital. Finally, the existing stations were too small for the volume of traffic generated by the railroads. The B&O's New Jersey Avenue station hosted more than 90 trains a day in the 1890's and had only 4 tracks for all of those trains.
Washington's Union Station was for a time owned and operated by a corporation called The Washington Terminal Company. This corporation was jointly owned
Union Station has hosted several demonstrations of special modern railroad equipment. One of them was the LRC (Light Rapid Comfortable) train, which this intrepid editor rode between Union Station DC and Odenton MD. Another was the JetTrain turbine locomotive in October 2002. The prototype was built by Bombardier and is capable of 150 miles per hour. JetTrain was proposed to be an element of the Florida Overland Express high speed rail plan. Funding for the system was denied by a referendum in 2004.
Also see . . .
1. Union Station: A Decorative History of Washington’s Grand Terminal. 1988 book by Carol Highsmith and Ted Landphair on Amazon.com. (Submitted on April 4, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.)
2. Union Station: A history of Washington’s grand terminal. 2nd Edition. 1998 book by Carol M. Highsmith on Amazon.com (Submitted on April 4, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland.)
1. W. Graham Claytor, Jr.
Transcript of text on plaque shown on photo No. 9.
W. Graham Claytor, Jr., President and Chairman,
Following a long and distinguished career in public service and private industry, W. Graham Claytor, Jr. brought to Amtrak a life-log love of passenger trains and a dedication to the quality of rail passenger service. Among his most significant achievements at Amtrak was his leadership in the formation of a public-private partnership to restore and redevelop Washington Union Station.
In recognition of this service to intercity and commuter rail passengers, the community and its visitors; and in recognition of his nearly sixty years of public service, spanning eleven U.S. presidencies, and his many contributions to the American people through a remarkable career of business, military and government service, on January 26, 1994, by resolution of the Board of Directors of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, the Washington Union Station train concourse was named the “Claytor Concourse.”
— Submitted June 29, 2008.
2. A. Philip Randolph
Transcript of text on plaque affixed to the statue of A. Philip Randolph shown in Photo No. 12.
A. Philip Randolph, April 15, 1889–May 16, 1979.
Dedicated by the AFL-CIO to the memory of A. Philip Randolph,
“At the banquet table of nature there are no reserved seats. You get what you can take, and you keep what you can hold. If you can’t take anything, you won’t get anything, and if you can’t hold anything, you won’t keep anything. And you can’t take anything without organization.” —A Philip Randolph
— Submitted June 29, 2008.
Categories. • 20th Century • Notable Buildings • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on April 10, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 22, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 4,274 times since then and 56 times this year. Last updated on June 20, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on January 22, 2008, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. 6, 7. submitted on September 28, 2008, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 8. submitted on June 28, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 9. submitted on April 6, 2018, by Devry Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. 10, 11, 12. submitted on June 28, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.