Union Station as it appeared in August 2002. Union Station opened Oct. 27, 1907, but wasn't completed until 1908.
An Acela train set sits at Union Station in late August 2002.

By Todd DeFeo

WASHINGTON – The nation’s capital, has a deep railroad history.

Union Station has served as an important structure for the nation. A Presidential suite was added and President William Howard Taft was the first executive to use it in 1909.

By 1968, air travel began to take away from train travel’s market and Union Station fell into disuse. Ten years later, Union Station closed.

Three years later, Congress enacted the Union Station Redevelopment Act of 1981. The goal was to make Union Station self-sufficient.

Three years of renovation and $160 million later, Union Station re-opened on Sept. 29, 1988. And today, there are over 25 million visitors per year to the station.

The building has at times offered an assortment of amenities, including a YMCA and a bowling alley.

The station – which sits on a 200-acre plot – was erected on the edge of “Swampoodle,” a shantytown located on the sewery remnants of Timber Creek.

The station is an example of Beaux-Arts architecture. It was designed by Architect Daniel Burnham, who wanted the building to serve as a gateway to the nation’s capital.

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