Thousands came out to Los Angeles Union Station on Saturday, May 3, 2014 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of this iconic train station that once served over 7,000 people per day. Complete with birthday cake, bands, dancers and plenty of Angelo’s, tourists and fans all gathered to remember and create new memories inside one of America’s most beautiful and last great train station.
Originally built in 1939, Union Station was designed by renowned Parkinson and Parkinson, the father and son team that created unforgettable and renowned landmarks Bullock’s Wilshire and the Los Angeles Memorial Colisuem home to USC Trojan Football. Three railroads originally served Union Station- Southern Pacific, Santa Fe and Union Pacific.
At that time Union Station represented Los Angeles coming into its own as dominate cultural and economic force. The inside of the station was stunning and unmatched by any other train station in the nation. Its Art Deco design paid homage to the areas Spanish past, while inside the appointment of rich woods, marble and vibrant colors represented the style and elegance of Los Angeles. The outside garden patios and courtyards with tall palm trees against the whitewashed walls invited travels to soak in the Southern Californian sun and lifestyle. The sleek design made the station a destination among travelers heading out west.
Several Union Stations were built in the United States in the late 1900’s, but Los Angeles Union Station was conceived on a grander scale and became known as the “last great railroad stations” built in the United States.
In 1972, Union Station was designated as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #101. In 1980 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places Purchased by METRO in 2011, Los Angeles Union Station is the main rail station for Los Angeles and is the largest passenger terminal in the Western United States and sits as the proud queen to the setting sun and the gateway to the growing transit system in Los Angeles.
Today Union Station is the transportation hub for Southern California serving over 60,000 passengers per day with access to AMTRAK regional trains, METROLINK commuter trains and METRO subway, lite rail and bus services. In addition the station also provides service for many bus service providers including Big Blue Bus #10 express service to Santa Monica, (in front of the station) LA’s other Downtown tourist and popular destination location and home to world famous Santa Monica Beach. While Patsaouras Transit Plaza located at the east side of the station provides services for many other buses including LAX Flyaway, MegaBus, USC.
My friends and I stood in line over an hour for the chance to walk through historic cars that use to travel through Union Station. Walking through each car was like stepping back in time to when train travel was king. We even had the chance to explore old an old bus that use to travel the streets of Los Angeles and peek inside an old LAPD squad car. I even purchased a couple of commemorative TAP cards.
Having been born and raised here in Los Angeles, Union Station holds a special place in my heart, as it was in this station I had my very first train experience. I remember sitting in the huge comfortable chairs and looking up at the wood beams before leaving with my family on a long train ride to New York as a kid. Several times as an adult Union Station served as my gateway to the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Barbara and San Diego with friends and for day trips.
I overhear lots of people saying how “Los Angeles is starting to feel like a real city” or how “Union Station feels very European” but for me it just feel like home. For me it represents far more than just a city, because Los Angeles is a region made up of so many different cultures, destinations and interests. Its unique and unlike any other place I’ve ever visited or lived. Any Angeleno will tell you that LA is so much for than the Hollywood hype and much bigger than anything any one city could ever offer or imagine. Los Angeles is a vast array of land and people with endless treasures to be explored at every turn that you never get tired of exploring and discovering. Union Station stands as the gateway to the greatest place, playground, destination or treasure hunt unmatched by any other city.
Union Station, just like Los Angeles is unmatched and second to none. Simply put…..IT ROCKS! Union Station is just one of a billions reasons why so many people LOVE LA!