Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bloom Where You're Planted Wednesday

A great place to see while visiting St. Louis is Union Station. A National Historic Landmark, Union Station is a former passenger train terminal that was once the world's largest and busiest train station. It was converted in the early 1980s into a luxury hotel, shopping center, and entertainment complex.

The architecture of St. Louis Union Station is an eclectic mix of Romanesque styles. The Station's interior and exterior details are a combination of both Richardsonian Romanesque tradition and French Romanesque or Norman style. In fact, Link modeled the grandiose Station after Carcassone, a walled, medieval city in southern France. These designs are most evident when entering the Station's Headhouse and the impressive Grand Hall, with its sweeping archways, fresco and gold leaf detailing, scagliola surfaces, mosaics and art glass windows. One can imagine the incredible impression the room created in 1894 on opening day. Today, the Grand Hall continues to awe visitors as the Marriott Hotel's lobby and lounge area.

A most impressive feature of the Grand Hall is the "Allegorical Window," a hand-made stained glass window with hand-cut Tiffany glass strategically positioned above the Station's main entryway. The window features three women representing the main U.S. train stations during the 1890s -- New York, St. Louis and San Francisco.

You will also have to try the Whispering Arch. If you stand on one side of the arch and whisper, some one else can hear it on the other side of the arch! It is a lot of fun to try this because it really works.

If you love architecture and history make sure you visit Union Station on your next trip to St. Louis.

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