Since its opening in the fall of 1907, Union Station has been an architectural landmark and a central part of life in the nation’s capital.
During the height of the “City Beautiful” movement, architects Daniel Burnham and Peirce Anderson drew on Roman masterworks such as the Arch of Constantine and the Baths of Diocletian to create a glorious, monumental gateway to Washington. The station is also a hub of economic and social activity, offering long-distance and local transportation and extensive retail opportunities.
Much of the building’s current success results from a $160 million restoration and expansion in the 1980s. That project changed Union Station from a deteriorating, depressing white elephant to a beautiful, inspiring illustration of how historic buildings are at the heart of a livable community. It now provides a remarkable collection of benefits to visitors and residents alike: an inspiring piece of architecture, multi-modal transportation, shopping and dining, jobs, and tax revenues.
Today Union Station stands at a critical junction. Several groups have proposed major developments that would once again change the terminal and its surroundings. These projects create unparalleled opportunities to ensure that our community protects and restores Union Station’s historic character while producing a model mixed-use development and multi-modal transportation center that will serve the capital well into the future
The Committee of 100 is one of the founders of the Union Station Preservation Coalition, which is dedicated to ensuring that these projects reflect the importance of this landmark and serve the building’s most important stakeholder: the public. Not only is Union Station publicly owned (by the federal government), but passing through it each day are approximately 100,000 members of the public.
The coalition has developed a concise report (click here to download) that introduces the current proposals for the complex, documents the importance of Union Station, and lists a series of recommendations designed to assure an appropriate balance between the past and the future, including:
- planning at and around the station must be integrated and comprehensive
- preservation of the station must be a top priority
- transportation must be the station’s primary use.
Of particular concern to the Committee of 100 is the preservation of the station’s great entrance hall, its most significant feature.
Achieving these crucial goals will require a deep commitment from many interests. But with a landmark of such history and utility, Union Station and our community deserve no less.
- C100 Comments FRA Union Station
- January 4, 2016, Nancy MacWood
We concur with the Rail Needs and Community Needs specified on the Boards displayed at the public meeting. However, we also believe that preservation of the majesty of Union Station is a fundamental need.
- Union Station White Paper Email
- August 2, 2012, Union Station Preservation Coalition
Union Station stands as one of the iconic buildings of the nation’s capital. The Committee of 100 has just helped establish the Union Station Preservation Coalition, an alliance of local and national groups dedicated to ensuring the terminal remains a beautiful, vibrant center of urban life. This commitment is even more important now given the multiple proposals to make major changes to this landmark. The coalition has developed sophisticated recommendations that emphasize that development plans for Union Station must be coordinated, place a priority on the station’s careful restoration and incorporate significant public involvement in the planning process.
- 2012-02-28 C100 Letter To Rahall And Norton Regarding Union Station North
- February 28, 2012, George Clark
C100 commends Rep. Rahall and Del. Norton you for their interest in the complex set of development proposals related to Union Station. Their decision to pursue an audit of the operations of the government-sponsored corporation that oversees Union Station is an important step to bringing order to what we believe has been a haphazard process.
- 2010-07-23 Comments Union Station
- July 23, 2010, George R. Clark, C100 Chairperson
Letter stating C100 position on proposed redvelopment of Union Station regarding the 106 consultation of June 18, 2010.