Union Station (Oklahoma City)

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Oklahoma City Union Depot
Oklahoma City OK Union Station Depot (Taken 20120926).jpg
Station statistics
Address 300 SW 7th St, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Other information
Opened 1931-07-15[1]
Closed 1967
Owned by Central Oklahoma Transit and Parking Authority
Union Depot
Oklahoma City OK Union Station Depot 2 (Taken 20120926).jpg
Oklahoma City's Union Station as seen in 2012
Union Station (Oklahoma City) is located in Oklahoma
Union Station (Oklahoma City)
Location 300 SW 7th St, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Coordinates 35°27′26″N 97°31′6″W / 35.45722°N 97.51833°W / 35.45722; -97.51833Coordinates: 35°27′26″N 97°31′6″W / 35.45722°N 97.51833°W / 35.45722; -97.51833
Built 1930
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 78002254[2]
Added to NRHP May 16, 1978

Oklahoma City Union Depot is a building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma that served as a "union station" from 1931 until 1967. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[2] It now houses the main office of the Central Oklahoma Transportation & Parking Authority.

History[edit]

Oklahoma City Union Station was built as part of a plan to move surface rail lines and passenger stations of the Rock Island and Frisco railroads out of downtown Oklahoma City. Grade-separating the tracks of the Santa Fe was also part of the plan. Bonds were issued by the city government to repurchase the rights of way of the Frisco and Rock Island and to pay for new civic buildings on the vacated land.

Prior to the construction of Union Station, the Rock Island had its depot on North Broadway between West 1st and West 2nd Streets. The Frisco had its passenger facilities a few blocks to the west between West Main and West 1st Streets fronting on North Hudson Street.

The previous stations were last used on November 30, 1930, with passenger traffic being moved to a temporary station at the foot of South Hudson Street[1] the next day.

The depot closed to the public in 1967 following the discontinuance of the last passenger trains serving Oklahoma City. Frisco passenger train service ended in May 1967 and Rock Island passenger train service ended in November 1967.

Architecture and station facilities[edit]

The terminal building, with 55,000 sq ft (5,100 m2) on its main floor, is a sprawling, generous California Spanish Mission Revival style. The structure included many elegant touches (small courtyards and alcoves with fountains and gardens surrounding the station building).

Passengers accessed the original 12-track station through tunnels via a ramp from the depot's waiting room. Mail and express shipments were also routed under the station to the surface passenger platforms. Traffic on Hudson and Harvey streets met the trains "at grade," enabling passenger access and exchange of mail and express freight between trucks and trains. Traffic on Robinson and Walker streets used underpasses built as part of the station complex. Freight warehouses and material handling areas were located behind the passenger facilities.

Robinson Street underpass, Union Station Rail Yard
Robinson Street underpass, Union Station Rail Yard Rock Island Railroad Logo
Robinson Street underpass, Union Station Rail Yard Frisco Railroad Logo

Tenant railroads[edit]

Union Station was served by two different railroads.

These lines last saw passenger service in the 1960s with many sections saved from abandonment by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and operated by short lines.

Controversy[edit]

In the 1980s the facility was purchased by the city of Oklahoma City to become a multimodal transportation center at a cost of $1.8 million, with $1.2 million being a grant from the Federal Transit Authority. As part the I-40 Crosstown Realignment, the former yard tracks were replaced by the new highway. Space for two rail tracks in the station has been preserved as has the depot itself.

This realignment was unsuccessfully challenged by several organizations (OnTrac, North American Transportation Institute, Common Cause). This realignment will add an additional 10 lanes of road through downtown Oklahoma City while the current corridor becomes an at-grade boulevard.

On 6/5/2008 the STB stated that BNSF falsified an application and ruled against the realignment.[3] BNSF filed a petition to bypass hearings and debate all together to force the realignment [4][5]

References[edit]