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Friday, May 15, 2015

St. Louis Train Shed

The picture on the front of this post card is looking into the train shed at Union Station in St. Louis, Missouri. It is looking from the train entrance toward the Union Station also known as the Head House.

"The Train Shed, 11.5 acres of sweeping arches, was the largest single-span Train Shed ever constructed. George H. Pegram was selected to design the Train Shed that is attached to the the Headhouse, using his patented truss in 1891. The Train Shed covered the original 32 tracks leading into St. Louis Union Station. It measures 140 feet tall, 700 feet long by 600 feet wide. The roof system is a series of five Pegram trusses combined to form a gigantic arch. At it's peak, there is a skylight that is 36 feet wide, that was originally covered with glass. Construction started July 7, 1892 and finished in November 1893. The Train Shed was extended another 180 feet in 1904. With the increase in train travel, in 1929, ten more tracks were added to the west. It wasn't logical to add another Pegram truss to the side and throw off the symmetry of original Train Shed. Instead, they built an umbrella-type covering, that you can see along 20th Street.
The Train Shed and Headhouse were designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970." This paragraph was taken from the St. Louis Missouri Union Station website.

The post card is from the Undivided Back era (pre-March 1, 1907). The back of the card is reserved for the address of the receiver of the card only. No messages were allowed to be written on the backs of these post cards, as per the rule of law in those days. Although the post card was published by The St. Louis News Company
it was printed by its parent company The American News Company - in Germany. This is a photograph I found on line. It gives us an idea of what the train shed looks like today. Evidently, Union Station itself is a hotel owned by Hilton; they call it a double tree hotel. It looks like they have invested a lot of money into making the train shed a user friendly addition to the hotel. Amtrak decommissioned the Station in 1978 due to the popularity of air travel. Following revitalization, the facility reopened in 1985 as a unique hotel destination. The St. Louis Union Station hotel is in the Headhouse and part of the Train Shed, which also features a lake, shops, entertainment and restaurants. St. Louis can get snow in the winter and this might be good to attract and keep tourists.

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