Monday, February 13, 2012

Photo Essay: Union Station, Open to the Public

Today I took a members-only Los Angeles Conservancy tour of Downtown LA's Union Station, the last of the great railway stations of the early 20th century, in the days before car culture took over the post-World War II American West.

Union Station is a building that many architecture buffs consider one of their favorites in LA, partially owed to its classic grandeur and unusual combination of Art Deco and Spanish Colonial Revival architectural styles. At the same time both modern and Moorish, Union Station - one of many "union stations" throughout the country (not the least of which in Nashville) - is a triumph in both its details and its major features: the sandstone-colored travertine, the wainscoting, the mosaic tilework, the Islamic crosses and stars, the Spanish tile roof, the streamlined motifs.

Built in 1939, Union Station is actually more heavily-trafficked now than it ever was in its supposed heyday, and yet many LA residents and tourists alike rarely if ever get to see even the parts of it that are open to the public.

So to establish how beautiful this building is, before I reveal some of the more hidden areas that I got to access today despite their normally being closed to the public, here are some shots of the beautiful areas that are open to the public, whether you're departing, arriving, or just having a look.

South Patio

Front entrance

Harvey House & Traxx Bar Entrances, Main Terminal

Track Tunnel

Stay tuned for photos from inside the old Harvey House restaurant and bar and the former ticketing area, now both used only for special events and film shoots.

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