Day Fifty-Four

Union Station – Denver, CO

I grew up in the suburbs of Denver, and have spent nearly my entire adult living in this metro area.  I must admit that until very recently, I never thought much about the history surrounding me, sure I learned a little here and there in school but that was a very long time ago. It wasn’t that I didn’t care or didn’t find it interesting; it’s that I spent my time and energy on other interests. I knew I wanted to grab a picture of the historic Union Station during the course of this project and today seemed the perfect day…

A bit of history of this grand structure for those interested:

It’s been a long, sometimes bumpy, journey for the 133-year-old station, designed by architect William E. Taylor. The foundation for the present structure, massive for its time, was laid on May 10, 1880, on land purchased by the Union Depot Co. with $300,000 of borrowed money. When it opened on July 26, 1881, the two-story depot — its exterior graced with stone from quarries in Castle Rock, Morrison, South Platte Canyon and Lyons — was 503 feet long, 65 feet wide and featured an electric light-studded 180-foot tower, which burned down in the pre-dawn hours of March 18, 1894. Construction cost $525,000.


All aboard for 134 years

1880: Foundation laid by Union Dept Co. on 17th Street at the western edge of the city.

1881: Two-story depot with 180-foot tower and railroad offices opened.

1894: Center section burned.

1906: Welcome Arch dedicated at 17th and Wynkoop streets.

1914: Denver Union Terminal Railway took over and demolished original Italianate structure.

1917: The “modern” station, in a neoclassical design, opened.

1926: Among the early dignitaries arriving by train was Queen Marie of Romania, who was greeted with a 21-gun salute.

1931: Welcome Arch demolished and sold for scrap after the city deemed it a traffic hazard.

1940: The Ski Train began.

1945: During the last days of World War II, more than 230,000 soldiers and civilians passed through Union Station.

1953: The “Travel by Train” signs are installed.

1958: Passenger traffic is greater at Stapleton Airport than at Union Station for the first time.

Early 1970s: Burlington Northern Railroad proposed developing land in the Platte Valley and redeveloping the station.

Late 1970s: Plan Metro Denver proposed tearing down the station to create a multi-modal transportation center.

1980s: Regional Transportation District and the City and County of Denver worked with Denver Union Terminal Railway Corp. to make improvements to the site.

2001: RTD took over operations.

2002: Denver Union Station project team began creating a master plan for redevelopment.

2004-2005: The property was prepared for redevelopment through zoning changes, public involvement and approval of FasTracks.

2006-2008: Environmental impact statements drafted and completed, to comply with national regulations.

2012: RTD approved the lease of the station building to Sage Hospitality, Larimer Associates and others to transform it into a mixed-use, transit-oriented hub.

2014: New Union Station Bus Concourse opened May 12; public grand opening of station is scheduled for July 26.Sources: Denver Post,

 Taken with my Canon 6D using my 35mm lens

“To know nothing of what happened before you were born is to forever remain a child.” Cicero

2 thoughts on “Day Fifty-Four

  1. Bob

    Really good account of the history. I really wanted to be a history teacher for a college. My personality was not fit. I would have beat up one of the liberal snots.


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