On September 1, 1894 St. Louis Union Station opened as the largest, most beautiful terminal in the United States.
This enormous project was built at the cost of $6.5 million. The gem of this new Station was The Grand Hall with its gold leaf, Romanesque arches, 65-foot barrel vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows. The most magnificent of these stained glass windows is the “Allegorical Window” which is majestically framed by the famous “Whispering Arch.”
In its prime in the mid 1940′s, more than 100,000 passengers a day passed through Union Station. After World War II, however, the general public began choosing other forms of transportation. Finally, on October 31, 1978, the last train pulled out of St. Louis Union Station.
In 1976, this magnificent station was designated a National Historic Landmark. In March 1979, Oppenheimer Properties purchased the Station for $5.5 million. In August of 1985, St. Louis Union Station reopened after $150 million restoration, making it the largest adaptive re-use project in the United States.
In October 2012, St. Louis-based Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM) purchased the historic property with the goal of restoring it to the gem it once was. With the acquisition, the hotel became a Double Tree Hotel by Hilton and the company launched a massive $30 million renovation project touching all aspects of the Station. At the heart is the lovely Grand Hall, which reopened in May 2014 as a destination for enjoying a drink and bite to eat.
Historical images for the Grand Hall Experience provided courtesy of Missouri History Museum-St. Louis, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Public Library, The State Historical Society of Missouri and Union Station Museum.