A recently-released book takes a look at the history of train stations in the United States. Train Stations: Then and Now (2017), by Ken Fitzgerald, traces the story of train station development across America.
Arranged alphabetically by city name and featuring numerous images, the 144-page book notes the various architectural styles of stations built during the 19th and 20th centuries; Spanish Mission, Gothic, Greek Revival, Richardsonian Romanesque, Art Deco.
Train Stations: Then and Now provides background on the construction – and sometimes destruction – of various stations. As noted by Fitzgerald, the first purposed destruction of a major station actually took place during the US Civil War in Georgia, when Union General William Tecumseh Sherman burned Atlanta’s depot in 1864. However, cities have suffered during calmer times as well; for example, Chicago, Illinois, saw its 1911-built Chicago and Northwestern Terminal demolished in 1984.
With the resurgence of North American passenger rail in the 21st century, train stations are in the process of returning to their stature as community hubs. A number of major stations have either been refurbished (Denver, Colorado’s Union Station re-opening in 2014) or are currently undergoing improvements (the Union Stations in Chicago and Toronto, Canada). This writer, an advocate for both Amtrak and VIA Rail, enjoys his time between trains in such historic stations, places of both movement and reflection.
Author Ken Fitzgerald lives in Dallas, Texas, and has written and photographed rail feautres for some three decades. Train Stations: Then and Now is available via various online retailers.
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)