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St. Louis Union Station

A Guide to the Collection of Architectural Drawings
at Washington University in St. Louis

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INTRODUCTION

 
  • St. Louis Union Station is considered by many experts to be the grandest and the most important railway edifice erected before the close of the 19th-century.  Combined with James Eads successful endeavor to span the Mississippi River with a novel multi-level railway and pedestrian bridge that unimpeded river traffic, St. Louis Union Station was convincing proof that St. Louis was at the country's center for transportation in the middle west. 
  • The architects, Theodore C. Link and Edward A. Cameron sought to purposely capture both the solidity and permanence of established European architectural styles coupled with clever and practical solutions to serve the [then] modern and thriving world of tractive steam locomotive engines.   The station was completed in 1894.
  • A building of mammoth proportions and elegant ornamental decoration, St. Louis Union Station was intended to accommodate thousands of travelers and workers daily.  The monumental head house featured numerous amenities including a luxurious hotel, a saloon, a dining hall, lunch rooms, gender-oriented lounges, a ticket office, several offices for the Terminal Railroad Association, and the world's first barrel-vaulted train station concourse, or "Grand Hall." 
  • The St. Louis Union Station train shed was designed by Washington University graduate George H. Pegram.  Due to the enormous span planned for the St. Louis Union Station train shed, Pegram's patented railroad bridge truss design proved to be the most practical to fabricate.   This resulted in the world's largest train shed, measuring 700 by 606 feet and supporting the operation of thirty-two terminating tracks and gates, nineteen miles of track line, 130 switches, and 103 signals. 
  • Over time, as tractive technologies evolved from steam to diesel and to diesel-electric powered engines, St. Louis Union Station too underwent countless changes.  With the growing popularity of automobiles and aircraft as alternatives modes of transportation, St. Louis Union Station eventually fell into disuse by the late 1970's.   In 1985, the complex was re-opened as a modern commercial center with many of its original features preserved.

 
NOTES

 
  • This guide serves only as a GENERAL INTRODUCTION to the contents of the collection. 
  • The series designations reflect the original order scheme.  They are NOT always consistent.
  • For VERY specific drawings (for example, 'brace frames between end posts, spring and cradle for rods on column B-19 of train shed, south'),  kindly consult with the archive staff regarding aid. 
  • The are NO restrictions on access to the collection for those with a genuine scholarly interest.

 
OUTLINE & GUIDE

 
SERIES
  SUBJECT[S]
DATES
A-1
General Site  c. 1892-1969
A-2
Electrical & Steam Lines  c. 1930-66
A-3
Train Shed c. 1892-1965
A-4
Terminal Hotel c. 1894-1964
A-5
Head House c. 1892-57
B-1
Railway Express Agency (REA) Building c. 1928-53
B-2
Train Shed (see A-3) c. 1892-93
B-3
Head House (Levels B & 1) c. 1892-1964
B-4
Head House (Levels 2-5 & Roof) c. 1902-67
B-5
Midway & 1937 Addition c. 1903-60
C-1
Subway Buildings c. 1903-55
C-2
Subway c. 1893-1930
C-3
Subway c. 1902-03
C-4
1903 Train Shed Extension c. 1903
C-5
Record Plats for TRRA c. 1900
D-1
Butterfly Sheds c 1924-53
D-2
Wanting N/A
D-3
Mail Buildings c. 1903-61
D-4
RR Company Buildings (Pullman Co., Alton RR, Wabash RR , Penn-Vandalia RR) c. 1903-67
D-5
Diesel Station & Outer Buildings c. 1941-45
E-1
Power House c. 1903-53
E-2
Power House & Water Treatment c. 1902-49
E-3
Signal Bridges & Switching Tower 1 c. 1903-40
E-4
Structural Misc. (Includes Pumps, Engine & Boiler Rooms, etc.) c. 1903-66
E-5
 

F-1

F-2
 
 

F-3

Ticket Office Revisions

Fred Harvey's

Subways & Depot Master's Office 

Curiosities (VERY Fragile Drawings, Consult Archive Staff for Details)

c. 1942
 

c. 1944-67

c. 1903-29
 

 


 
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