January 15, 1931
Union Station in Omaha, Nebraska, was officially dedicated about a year-and-a-half after the ground-breaking ceremony for this train terminal. As part of the ceremony, Omaha Mayor Richard L. Metcalfe opened the main door of the 124,000-square-foot (11,520-square-meter) building with a gold key. Carl R. Gray, president of the Union Pacific Railroad, used the occasion to proclaim that the station was “[d]edicated by the railways of Omaha to serve, comfort and convenience the people.”
Union Station (also known as Union Passenger Terminal) was designed by noted architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood. His Art Deco design for this building was the first of the Union Pacific Railroad stations based on that architectural style and helped further underscore Omaha’s prominence as a key railroad center in the Midwest. In addition to its lavish outward appearance, the terminal was also distinguished by its interior and such then-innovative features as escalators and electric luggage conveyor belts.
Approximately 1.5 million passengers passed through Union Station during its first year alone. By the mid-1940s, a total of 64 steam locomotives were transporting about 10,000 passengers in and out of the station on a daily basis. The number of railroads operating lines through the station steadily declined thereafter, however. Ultimately, the Union Pacific Railroad donated the building to the City of Omaha in 1973. The building has since become home for the Durham Museum, which focuses on the history of the American West.
For more information on Union Station in Omaha, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Station_(Omaha) and https://durhammuseum.org/our-museum/history-of-union-station/.
Additional information on architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood and the Union Pacific Railroad stations that he designed is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_Stanley_Underwood.