Once a grand train station serving downtown Montgomery, Alabama for decades, this extravagant building now stands as a glimpse into the past of the city.
Union Station was built overlooking the banks of the Alabama River in 1898. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad was a large railway corporation based out of Louisville, Kentucky. Their tracks covered territory in twelve states throughout the South and Midwest.
The station served visitors traveling for both business and pleasure in the central Alabama region. In its glory it featured six rail lines meeting under a 600 foot long pavilion to create an entrance platform. There was even a yard for extra train engines and cars.
During the 1950s and 1960s as airplanes and cars became a more reliable form of transportation the station was not as popular as it had once been. When Amtrak was introduced to the area in 1971, Union Station saw an even more significant decline in passengers.
The final passenger train that stopped at Union Station was called the Floridian as it traveled from Chicago to Miami. Although in 1979, the train ceased its route as other modes of transportation were much more profitable and efficient.
After the railroad stopped functioning through the station the building was redeveloped for commercial use and the railway lines were removed to put in a parking lot under the pavilion.
The statue was placed in front of Union Station and is called the Rainbow Solider Memorial. It was established in honor of the 3,677 Alabama natives that served during World War I, all of whom had at one point passed through Union Station after enlistment. Today the memorial is viewed in remembrance of those soldiers who served in the 167th U.S. Infantry Regiment of the 42nd Rainbow Division of Alabama.
How to Visit
Union Station makes for a great photo opportunity in the downtown Montgomery area. I would recommend visiting if you are in the city. It is free to walk around and take photos. The Montgomery Area Tourism Council office is in the building as well as several other shops and eateries.
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