All trains lead to Chicago. When I was little we use to take the train across country. To my knowledge there is almost no way to do that without stopping at Union Station in Chicago. By the time I was five I knew the station like the back of my hand.
Recently I had the opportunity to stop at Union Station for the first time in ten years. It’s strange to think that for the longest time my knowledge of Chicago didn’t reach past the doors of the train station. Now living here, the station is almost an afterthought.
Aside from seeming smaller, probably because I’m bigger, it looks almost identical to what I remember. The main terminal area wasn’t necessarily hustling and bustling with people like I know it does during the week, but that didn’t change the regal feel of the building. People don’t travel by train the way they use to and standing in the center surrounded by marble and columns and statues and high vaulted ceilings you wonder why not. Train stations, like Union Station hearken back to era that gives the impression of grandeur and makes you wish you could step back in time.
But, the great thing about Union Station in Chicago, just like Grand Central Station in New York and Union Station in Washington, DC is that people still use them. They might not be in their prime, but they’re still used. People still commute daily into Chicago by way of the train adding to its rich history.