Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Union Station (Los Angeles)
Union Station in Los Angeles, which opened in May 1939, is the last of the great train stations built in America, but even with its massive and ornate waiting room and adjacent ticket concourse, it is considered small in comparison to other union stations. It was formerly designated the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal (LAUPT), but it's current owner, Catellus Development, officially named it Los Angeles Union Station (LAUS).
Union Station is located opposite L.A.'s historic Olvera Street.
Union Station was designed by the father and son team of John Parkinson and Donald B. Parkinson , who also designed Los Angeles City Hall, and whose firm designed many landmark Los Angeles buildings from the late 19th century onward. The structure combines Spanish Revival , California Mission and Streamline Moderne style, with Moorish architectural details such as eight-pointed stars. Enclosed garden patios are on either side of the waiting room, and passengers exiting the trains were originally directed through the southern garden. The lower part of the interior walls is covered in travertine marble, and the upper part is covered with an early form of acoustical tile. The floor in the large rooms is terra cotta tile with a central strip of inlaid marble (including travertine, somewhat unusual in floors since it is soft). Other parts of the station's flooring are colored tiles with Aztec influences.
Attached to the main building to the south is a small masterpiece, the remarkable station restaurant designed by southwestern architect Mary Colter. Although now usually padlocked and stripped of many interior furnishings, the topology of its rounded central counter dynamically thrust forward, its streamlined booths, and the inlaid floor patterns still constitute a busy and evocative sense of place. As with many Anglean locations, it has only survived by serving as an occasional filming location.
The station originally served the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, Southern Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad. Established on the site of L.A.'s first Chinatown, it saw heavy use during World War II, but later declining usage with the growing popularity of air travel and automobiles.
Now Union Station is once again heavily used, especially since the construction of the MTA's Red Line subway station and Gold Line light rail station. Union Station also serves Amtrak and Metrolink passenger trains. The station has 10 train tracks, and approximately 75 train departures per week. The attached Patsaouras Transit Plaza serves several bus lines including Rapid and regular Metro lines, as well as downtown DASH shuttles.
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