Pen & Ink – 2005
After the first depot was destroyed by fire, and to serve the new Saint Paul based Great Northern Railroad which stretched from Chicago to Seattle, Union Depot was completed in 1917. Saint Paul’s famed railroad and business tycoon James J. Hill directed the grand buildings construction.
The depot is located in Lowertown, primarily the eastern part of downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota. Nearby on the banks of the Mississippi River is Lower Landing, the birthplace of Saint Paul. Before the advent of railroads, riverboats were Saint Paul’s and Minnesota Territory’s primary connection to the rest of the nation.
At its peak use, Union Depot accommodated seventy passenger trains a day. The depot closed to rail traffic in 1971. Today, efforts are underway to reclaim the grand station and former rail yards as a transportation hub. The activity began after Bill Hosko submitted the idea at length, both in writing and later with a detailed set of drawings to the mayor’s office in 1998 & 1999.