Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Possibly The Most Beautiful Room In America

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Union Station Great Hall 1

My brain is so crowded I sometimes forget simple things. This blog is almost four years old and I keep meaning to go to this place and I never remember to do it. Until Sunday.

This is lovingly restored great hall of Union Station, once one of the country's largest railroad terminals. It fell into grim disrepair as passenger traffic collapsed. Eventually, the tiny number of passenger trains run by Amtrak were moved to a double-wide trailer a few blocks away (known locally as Amshack; it's been replaced with a permanent structure). It is also the lobby of the Hyatt Hotel that now occupies the "head house." I think it is among the most beautiful rooms I've ever seen. Sure, it's not Versailles' Hall of Mirrors and there must be lots of other fabulous rooms in the U.S. but I have not seen the equal. (I must say, though, that I am fond of the main reading room at the Boston Public Library.) It is turn of the 19th to 20th Century grandeur at its most brilliant.

We will explore this over the next couple of days. However, according to hysterical TV forecasters, we may be sliding into the worst ice and snow storm since, I don't know, Lewis and Clark last went looking for a beer in Laclede's Landing. If so, and the local streets can be walked without crampons, I may have to go out and document it.

S 6th Street, St. Louis, View To The North We question reality today on Downtown St. Louis 365.

TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE: the National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the first time in the history of the St. Louis office. We are expecting significant ice followed by heavy snow and high winds into tomorrow morning. I closed our office today. Got to get out with my camera if walking isn't unsafe.

2011-02-01 Ice And Snow 1
8 AM this morning outside my house.
Tiny pellets of ice
are falling now, bouncing off surfaces. Snow later.

14 comments:

Olivier said...

superbe cette salle et la lumiere de la photo est magnifique

cieldequimper said...

Well that's ST-Louis' hall of splendour. It's beautiful.

Jilly said...

They sure knew how to build railway stations in the old days. This is a stunner, Bob - so beautifully restored. I adore railway stations - think of Grand Central or some of the stations in Europe.

Molly said...

Glad they've found a good use for this space. Makes me so sad when places like this are neglected. I bet it made an absolutely stunning railway station--must have really come to life with all those people rushing about on there way to wonderful places.

Bibi said...

Train stations make beautiful restaurants....how's the food?

Birdman said...

I could sit here for hours, I bet. Fabulous... and worth the wait.

brattcat said...

I was a bit dubious when I read the title but you're right, this is a beauty!

Sharon said...

I agree about this room. It is so beautiful. I spent a lot of time here, either dining at the hotel or at other restaurants in the complex. I always loved passing through this grand room.

Luis Gomez said...

Bob, I totally agree with you. I have been there and it is magnificent!

Virginia said...

YOu are right, it is stunning. WE had a very nice train station here in Birmingham but the powers that be decided that old thing needed to GO, so it got the wrecking ball years ago. That's progress fer ya.

V

Wayne said...

It's a stunning room alright Bob. Did you yell 'fire' before you took the shot?

Machelle said...

Thanks for reminding STL about one of their greatest gems.
machelle

jamr said...

I love this hall.

Stefan Jansson said...

Spectacular it is.