Union Station Reconstruction in the 1970s

Check out this photo of Union Station being rehabilitated. Thankfully they saved it instead of knocking it down like they did so many other beautiful old buildings back then (i.e., look at everything in L’Enfant -… ugh). The photo below was taken on December 20th, 1974, two weeks after the TWA Mount Weather air disaster.

- click image for more -
Union Station under construction in 1974
Union Station under construction in 1974

Source: Library of Congress

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  • publius washingtoniensis

    The Union Station Visitor Center project was a desecration — the big hole, “the Primary Audio-Visual Experience,” was nothing more than a slide show. Nobody ever went there. The “new” station built behind the concourse was pasteboard and plastic — sheer junk. Suffice it to say, this iteration lasted less than a decade, and was replaced by some miracle with the handsome tourist attraction-rail and bus station arrangement that we have today. Sometimes government gets it right.

    • Steve in DC

      Well said !!

  • Sheila

    Either my Great, or Great, Great Grandfather helped build Union Station. Someone in my family has a photo of him and some of the crew while it was being built. If I can find out who has it, I will get a copy and send it to you. I’ve only seen it a couple times myself.
    The Washington Post Society page has information about my grandparents, who were not even married yet, in it from July 12, 1914. The Washington Social Glee Club had their first annual picnic at Chesapeake Beach last Wednesday!!!
    Mr. Tillett is the son or grand son of the one above that helped build Union Station.
    Can’t believe my grandparents were on the SOCIETY pages of the Washington Post!!

  • Kris Rehberg

    They didn’t really rebuild or save Union Station at the time of this picture. It was being converted to the failed National Visitor Center which only opened the floor and started (but didn’t finish) building the parking garage. The roof was later found to be on the verge of falling in. The actual rehabilitation of the Station happened in the 1980s, with repairs to the roof, restoring the floor, opening up the baggage handling room to the public, and conversion of the old waiting room into a shopping mall.

    The one thing that was good about the National Visitor Center project was the incomplete parking garage which was eventually finished in the 1980s during the rehabilitation of the Station.