Union Station (Brattleboro, Vermont)
The Vermonter at Brattleboro station in June 2013
|Location||10 Vernon Road
|Line(s)||New England Central Railroad|
|Platforms||1 side platform|
Brattleboro Museum & Art Center in 2012
|NRHP Reference #||74000268|
|Added to NRHP||June 6, 1974|
Union Station was built in 1915, replacing an older station, and saw service until 1966. The building was converted into the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center Amtrak has operated service almost continuously since 1972 using a small waiting area in the basement.
In 1880, a larger and more substantial two story brick station was built to the south of the first depot. This depot later became a “union station” when the Boston and Maine Railroad built a trestle across the Connecticut River to connect with the Central Vermont Railway.
The current Union Station building was completed in 1915. From north to south, the station consisted of the main passenger building, a recessed baggage wing, and a freight building. The center of the passenger building, which is five bays across, is marked by a projecting pavilion topped by a gable that contains a stone plaque inscribed with “1915.” The structure was built of quartzite rubble which was mined locally from across the Connecticut River in New Hampshire.
Union Station closed in September 1966 when service ended on the line; the building was sold to the town. A proposal to raze Union Station and create a parking lot prompted concerned residents to work with city officials to consider reuse options for the structure. In 1972, it reopened as the home of the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center]. A year later, Amtrak took over the ground floor for use as a waiting room to serve passengers on the Montrealer, which was replaced in 1995 by the Vermonter. The station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
In the late 1990s, Brattleboro officials proposed a two phase multi-modal project to include a downtown parking garage and a refurbished Amtrak station. The project received $8 million from the Federal Transit Administration; $1.8 million in state grants; $4 million in local funds raised by bond issue; and $1.2 million through other sources. The garage, which also includes a local and intercity bus facility, was completed in 2003, but a new Amtrak station was never built.
Brattleboro Museum and Art Center
The Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, a non-collecting museum, was founded in 1972 and located in the former Union Station building. New exhibits by regional and international artists are shown each season. The aim of BMAC is to present art and ideas in ways that inspire, educate, and engage people of all ages. Some of BMAC’s notable exhibiting artists have included Jennifer Bartlett, Chuck Close, Janet Fish, Wolf Kahn, Chris Van Allsburg and Andy Warhol. It also functions as a community center and is a private non-profit organization. The museum was run by volutneers in the 1970s; the first professional director was hired in 1981.