Union Station (Providence)

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Union Station
Union Station Providence.jpg
1898 Union Station
Union Station (Providence) is located in Rhode Island
Union Station (Providence)
Union Station (Providence) is located in the US
Union Station (Providence)
Location Providence, Rhode Island
Built 1898
Architect Stone, Carpenter & Willson
Part of Downtown Providence Historic District (#84001967)
NRHP reference # 75000003[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP February 20, 1975
Designated CP February 10, 1984

Union Station describes two distinct defunct train stations in Providence, Rhode Island.

The original Union Station was Providence's first, opening in 1847 to accommodate the needs of the newly thriving city. It was considered "a brilliant example of Romanesque architecture" in its time, and the longest building in America. As the city continued to grow, so too did the need for terminal space, ultimately resulting in the paving over of the remnants of the city's inland bay in 1890. The question of what to do with the now undersized station was spontaneously answered in February 1896 when the station suffered a catastrophic fire.

A postcard image of Union Station

A much larger Union Station was opened in 1898, clad in distinctive yellow brick, which the Providence Journal heralded as "a new era of history of this city".[2] The station was designed by the firm of Stone, Carpenter & Willson, which had also designed other Providence buildings.[3] Though rail use was expected to grow, by the 1980s rail traffic had dropped 75 percent. City planners saw the opportunity to dismantle the "Chinese Wall" of train tracks that hemmed in Providence's central business district and moved MBTA and Amtrak service to a new, smaller station about a half mile north in 1986.[4]

Union Station caught fire in April 1987[5] amidst $11 million in renovations, forcing a change of plans. Parts of the original station have now been renovated and the building contains offices and restaurants, including the Union Station Brewery.

The center-most building of Union Station now houses the Rhode Island Foundation, who leases space to Rhode Island Public Radio, RI Kids Count,[6] Women's Fund RI,[7] and Bar Louie Restaurants.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ Woodward, William McKenzie (2003). PPS/AIAri Guide to Providence Architecture. Providence, RI: Providence Preservation Society. pp. 303–304. ISBN 0-9742847-0-X. 
  3. ^ RISD : Rhode Island School of Design : MUSEUM HISTORY
  4. ^ Woodward, William McKenzie (2003). PPS/AIAri Guide to Providence Architecture. Providence, RI: Providence Preservation Society. p. 13. ISBN 0-9742847-0-X. 
  5. ^ Providence Journal Article
  6. ^ "Rhode Island KIDS COUNT > Home". Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  7. ^ "Women's Fund of Rhode Island". Retrieved 2016-04-27. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°49′33″N 71°24′48″W / 41.8258°N 71.4133°W / 41.8258; -71.4133