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Lowertown, Saint Paul, MN
USA

Lowertown Landing is dedicated to supporting the continued growth and rejuvenation of the Lowertown historic district of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Union Depot - modern day 2.jpg

Union Depot

(214 E. 4th St.)

The St. Paul Union Depot is a large, monumental and rather somber version of the American Beaux Arts style. It was designed by Chicago architect Charles Frost who also designed the Railroad and Bank Building at 176 E. 5th St. This building is St. Paul's second Union Depot. Before the first Union Depot was built in the early 1880's, each railroad in St. Paul had its own depot, a situation that was very inconvenient for passengers. The first depot was gutted by fire in 1884 and was quickly rebuilt. Soon rail traffic increased to the extent that this depot was inadequate. Planning for a new depot began under the supervision of James H. Hill. Meanwhile, the old depot was destroyed by fire in 1912. Construction of the new building began in 1917; but was delayed during World War I. The depot was not completed until 1923.

The building played a tremendously important role in nurturing the railroad industry that helped St. Paul gain its reputation as a major transportation and commercial center. The main facade of the building was built of Indiana limestone and consists of a large Doric portico flanked by two projecting wings. This facade faces 4th Street, and was approached by a curved drive, much of which is now used for parking. Behind this section is the passenger concourse which extends south over Kellogg Boulevard, and which is faced in cream-colored brick. The interior of the building is remarkably intact as well. Originally the front portion of the building contained the administrative offices of many of the railroads, the waiting room, ticket counters, and restaurant. The interior is lavishly decorated with travertine, murals, and various reliefs depicting the history of transportation in the state. This symbolism is repeated in the interior of the concourse that has a vaulted ceiling with tile frieze with motifs from the development of transportation in Minnesota. Use of the depot as a passenger terminal was discontinued in the early 1970's when the new Amtrak station was built in the Midway area

In the early 2000’s the Depot had converted much of its upper floors to condos.  In 2012 there a $243 million renovation was completed that is transitioning the station back into the city’s central transportation hub, with Amtrak, the central corridor light-rail, metro buses, as well as inter-state buses all making the Depot their destination.  There is also hope of a high-speed line to Chicago in the future.