A Look Back: Denver’s Union Station

As Denver’s Union Station takes center stage this month for it’s progressive rehabilitation project, we would like to also honor the past of the monumental historic structure, which has weathered the waves of change that have swept through the city and country since it opened in 1870.

The station was constructed to connect the young mining town with the transcontinental railroad line established through nearby Cheyenne, Wyoming. To maintain their town’s national relevance, community leaders eagerly organized residents, raised funding, and formed the Denver Pacific Railway Company, which laid track between Denver and Cheyenne and built the town’s first train station.

Many more railway companies were formed in the subsequent years, each hosting their own station, until a national trend spurred the development of a station to unite all lines. The magnificent Union Station was built in 1881.

The station became the central transit point for people and business flocking to the the region at the turn of the century, and newly wealthy financiers began to invest in the growing city. Union Station has seen both the best of times, through the growth and excitement of the booming 1920s, and the worst, as the city lost jobs on population in the 1980’s.

It’s facade, like it’s image, has been reconstructed multiple times throughout it’s long and storied history.

And now, the recent $500 million renovation project plans to again lift high this central element of Denver’s history, to make it relevant and valuable, and again part of the city’s rise.