: In the early twentieth century, Cincinnati was linked to a number of other major cities through its rail lines. Union Terminal, a single railroad terminal, was developed to provide service for all passenger and freight lines entering the city. Construction began in the 1920s on the art deco style structure that was designed by architects Alfred Fellheimer and Stewart Wagner. Finished on March 31, 1933, Union Terminal had the largest half-dome in the world at the time. Even today it is the largest half-dome in the Western hemisphere.
The artwork associated with Union Terminal was as amazing as the physical structure. Maxfield Keck designed bas-relief figures that represented Commerce and Transportation to flank the main doors. Winold Reiss, a German-born artist, designed murals made from glass mosaic tiles to decorate the interior of the terminal. The art deco style murals illustrate the United States' transportation history, different types of work in the United States, and Cincinnati history. Most of the murals were placed within the main entry of the terminal, but additional murals, portraying major Cincinnati businesses, were located in the concourse. The concourse was torn down in the 1970s, and these murals were relocated to the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati International Airport. Another artist, Pierre Bourdelle, created a mural at the entrance of the women's lounge.
After success as a train terminal throughout the 1930s and 1940s, competition from automobiles and passenger airline service led to a decline in use of the terminal. By 1972, the last train service to Union Terminal ended. After a failed attempt in 1980 to turn Union Terminal into a shopping mall, the building was opened once again in November 1990 and was known as the Museum Center. The renovated Union Terminal now houses the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and Science, the Cincinnati History Museum, the Cincinnati Historical Society Library, the Cinergy Children's Museum, and an OMNIMAX theater. Amtrak began offering passenger train service to Union Terminal beginning in 1991.
Union Terminal was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 31, 1972. Its significance as one of the few remaining large art deco terminals meant that it also became a National Historic Landmark in 1977. View on Ohio Memory.
: SA1039AV_B02F13_004 Subjects
: Cincinnati Union Terminal (Cincinnati, Ohio); Architecture--Ohio--Cincinnati--Pictorial works; Railroads--Ohio--Hamilton County--Maps Places
: Cincinnati (Ohio); Hamilton County (Ohio)