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St. Louis Union Station

St. Louis Union Station, once the largest and busiest passenger rail terminal in the world, is located in St Louis, Missouri. It spans an area of 11 acres, beginning from its 65-foot barrel-vaulted ceiling in the Grand Hall to its Victorian-engineered train shed. Built in the 1890s at a cost of $6.5 million, in an eclectic mix of Romanesque-style architecture, St. Louis Union Station was designed by German-born architect Theodore C. Link of St Louis. It was opened to the public in 1894, but ceased operation as an active train terminal in 1978. In the early 1980s, the station underwent a $150 million restoration and was reopened in August 1985 as the largest adaptive re-use project in the United States. St. Louis Union Station is now one of America's great marketplaces. It houses a 539-room Hyatt Regency Hotel, luxury offices, a lake, four active train tracks and a plaza for festivals, concerts and other special events. Union Station's more than 80 shops, including Discovery Channel Store, Brookstone and locally loved St. Louis Dry Goods, Bud Shop, and Cardinals Clubhouse, is a shopper's magnet. The station's interior and exterior details are a combination of the Richardsonian Romanesque tradition and French Romanesque, or Norman style. Those designs are most evident when entering the Station's Headhouse and the imposing Grand Hall with its sweeping archways, fresco and gold-leaf detailing, scagliola surfaces, mosaics and art glass windows. The Grand Hall awes visitors as the Hyatt Regency Hotel's lobby and lounge area. The Allegorical Window, a hand-made stained glass window with hand-cut Tiffany glass, positioned above the Station's main entryway, is the most impressive feature of the Grand Hall. The window features three women representing the main U.S. train stations during the 1890s: New York, St. Louis, and San Francisco. Another main area in the Union Station is the Midway, a 610-foot long and 70-foot wide concourse connecting the massive Train Shed. The Train Shed, spanning an area of 11.5 acres with sweeping arches, was the largest single-span train shed ever constructed. It once covered the greatest number of train tracks — 32 — than any other station in the country. The Memories Museum in the station, founded as a joint venture by St. Louis Station Associates and the Museum of Transportation, is dedicated to preserving the rich history of St. Louis Union Station. It is open to the public during the station's operating hours. Today, St. Louis Union Station has become a National Historic Landmark, dramatically restored and redeveloped as a dynamic mixed-use project.