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Built during an era when Chicago played a centrally significant role in the United States? railroad transport system linking the West Coast and the East Coast, Chicago?s Union Station was one of the last railway stations built in an ostentatious fashion just like the New York City?s Grand Central and Washington?s own Union Station.

The Union Station was built in 1925 and took over the congested Grand Passenger Station to fittingly represent Chicago as the United States? railway capital. Chicagoan architect Daniel Burnham was commissioned to design the Union Station but died before he completed the projected. The firm Graham, Anderson, Probst and White assumed Graham?s unfinished design which featured two structures on both sides of the Canal street which are adjoined by a tunnel.

The west side structure holds a cavernous waiting lobby dubbed as the ?Great Hall?. The focal point of the hall is a 112-foot skylight complemented by luxurious marble floors and walls which are accentuated Corinthian columns. Passengers could wait comfortably on long benches located here. Eight levels of office spaces can be found here but in the original plan, 20 floors were meant to be built.

The east side of the Union Station used to be the concourse modeled after the concourse of the now non-existent Pennsylvania Station in New York. This concourse was likewise demolished in 1969 and now, offices can be found here.

Approximately 100,000 passengers trooped to Chicago?s Union Station during its peak, only a quarter of its 400,000 total capacity. Several stations in the windy city shut down and today, it is the only railway station remaining in downtown Chicago since 1972. It was renovated in 1992 and was officially designated as a Chicago landmark in 2002.
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