Union Station (Tacoma)

  • By Amber Brock
  • Posted 5/24/2024
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 22977
See Additional Media

Union Station is one of the most recognizable buildings in Tacoma, a former train station turned federal courthouse nestled in the heart of downtown. It was built by the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1911 at the height of passenger rail travel. "For decades this was a monument to specialness, the romance that represented a passageway to and from the rest of the world," wrote the Tacoma News Tribune. "This was the crown jewel among many architectural statements that defined Tacoma as one of the very most important prosperous cities in the west" ("Preservation Embraces Revival at Union Station"). But when rail service declined, the once-crowded waiting rooms cleared out and the station fell into disrepair. In the 1980s and early 1990s, officials and citizens at the local, state, and federal levels saved Union Station from the wrecking ball and restored it to its former glory. 

Early Northern Pacific Passenger Depots

The impetus for Union Station began on July 14, 1873, when Northern Pacific Railroad (NP) executives R. D. Rice and J. C. Ainsworth sent a telegram announcing that the railroad's western terminus was to be located on Commencement Bay. A modest depot was built on a Tacoma wharf next to a hotel being built by William Blackwell, and on December 16, 1873, Gen. Morton M. McCarver (1807-1875) drove the final spike completing the Northern Pacific's Pacific Division. The railroad had officially arrived in Tacoma.  

In the early 1880s, the Tacoma Land Company reserved a block of land for what citizens hoped would be a grand new passenger depot in the heat of the business center, a tract bordered by Broadway, Ninth, Eleventh, and Commerce. Tacomans wanted a depot that reflected the importance given to their city by the railroad, and the Tacoma Land Company's actions led them to believe one would soon be built. To their disappointment, Northern Pacific president Henry Villard (1835-1900) announced instead that a modest, wood-framed depot would be built at Pacific Avenue and Seventeenth. This depot, commonly known as Villard Station or Villard's Depot, opened to the public on April 6, 1885.

The building contract was given to B. A. Lewis in August 1883, but work was delayed until September 1884 because the proposed location changed several times; the eventual site was at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Railroad Street. The station featured a gentlemen’s waiting room with a fireplace, a slightly smaller ladies waiting room, ticket and telegraph offices, and a baggage room. The Tacoma Daily Ledger wrote that the view of the city from the depot would leave both visitors and passengers on the train with a "favorable impression of Tacoma ... where now a feel of disappointment results" ("New Passenger Depot at the Foot of Pacific ..."). But while the new depot provided a favorable impression for some, it was far from the grand station Tacomans had hoped for.

Hopes were rekindled in June 1891 when the Northern Pacific announced plans for a passenger depot to be located just across the street from Villard Station on the site of the railroad's old car shops. This site would be more convenient for arrivals and departures of trains over both the NP's Cascade and Pacific divisions. The Tacoma City Council approved construction plans in January 1892, but the project was delayed in hopes that waiting a year or two might result in the Northern Pacific appropriating more money for it. Instead, the financial Panic of 1893 decimated the NP's finances and the plan was abandoned. 

Plans for a Union Station

A second transcontinental railroad, the Great Northern, arrived in Tacoma in the summer of 1906. Shortly after, plans were announced for a new union depot for use by both the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific. The NP dedicated $750,000 to build this depot, to be located on Pacific Avenue on the site of Villard Station. Reed & Stem, an architecture firm from St. Paul, Minnesota, and designer of Seattle's King Street Station, was selected to finally deliver the grand station Tacomans had longed for. Their design called for a three-story structure featuring dramatic public spaces and ample room for railroad division offices. A domed ceiling 70 feet in diameter and reaching more than 60 feet from the floor would tower over the main waiting room, with four 10-foot-wide stairways leading down from this room to the concourse below. The concourse would stretch out from the building over the tracks; from there passengers could safely descend to the platforms by stairs or elevator. The building would be heated by steam and illuminated by electricity. 

Initial reports projected the station to be ready in 18 months, but then construction was halted while city officials and the Northern Pacific fought over the NP's request for vacation of several city streets to allow room for the depot. Negotiations between the city and Northern Pacific dragged on through 1907 and 1908. Finally, in January 1909, the city agreed to grant the vacations. In return, the railroad agreed to begin work on the depot within 30 days and to have the station complete within two years. In a related transaction, the NP also agreed to transfer 300 feet of its waterfront holdings to the city. On this stretch, just below the Tacoma Hotel, the city built the first municipal dock in Washington state. 

The Northern Pacific awarded Knoell Brothers the contract to build a temporary depot building, including a two-story structure to house offices for the superintendent and other railroad employees. The temporary depot at 20th and Dock Street opened for traffic on May 23, 1909. The old Villard depot was in such bad condition that the contractors decided to pass on hiring a wrecking contractor and instead completed the work themselves. The ramshackle old barn, as it was called by local newspapers, had been taken down by the second week of June 1909. 

The Hurley-Mason Company, a Tacoma contractor, was selected to build the new station. One of the largest contracting firms in the Northwest, Hurley-Mason had erected several buildings in Tacoma, including the Perkins Building and the Commercial Club-Weyerhaeuser Building. Work began in September 1909. Architect A. H. Stem visited the city in February 1910 to check on progress and was pleased with the work of the crew of 250 men. By the summer of 1910, the full view of the 21,571 square feet of the main floor could be seen from Pacific Avenue. On October 30, the Tacoma Daily Ledger reported that the project was two-thirds completed and published a photo of the building, the dome's huge skeleton looming overhead.  

Union Station Opens

Formal opening ceremonies for Union Station were held on May 1, 1911. The Tacoma Daily Ledger wrote that with the opening, the city would "commemorate the end of pinched, dangerous, unsanitary, and unsightly passenger station facilities in Tacoma and the arrival of facilities suitable to a city of Tacoma’s size and importance as a railroad center" ("Great Throng at Dedication"). Citizens filled the streets around Pacific Avenue for blocks waiting for the doors to open, and then 20,000 people crowded into the station. The official housewarming began with speeches from Tacoma Commercial Club president D. I. Cornell, Washington Governor Marion E. Hay, Tacoma Mayor W. W. Seymour, Northern Pacific president Howard Elliot, and Judge F. V. Brown (counsel for the Great Northern Railway). Harriman Railroad Vice President Julius Kruttschnitt was scheduled to speak but fell ill and returned to his hotel before making his remarks. Mayor Seymour captured the feelings of the citizens of Tacoma, declaring:

"When we consider the long years that the city has waited, of the years of trouble and setbacks, is it any wonder that tonight we are pleased that we actually stand in, look around in, and realize that at last we can use our new station; that the hospitality of Tacoma can have a place she need not apologize for; where we can welcome our friends and neighbors with pride ... It is the testimony of three of the leading railroads of the United States in the permanency and the importance of our city" ("Great Throng at Dedication"). 

Following the speeches, the Tacoma Theatre orchestra played as visitors toured the depot guided by 60 Northern Pacific employees. 

Inside the Station

The main entrance facing Pacific Avenue included eight doors. A main archway was built of Bedford sandstone, each block 8 feet thick. On either side there were smaller archways and a minor entrance. Passing through the entrances, visitors entered the main waiting room under a towering dome 63 feet in height. The dome’s ceiling featured ornamental plaster and was lit with 128 globes. The ticket counter could be found on the far side of the waiting room. On either side of the room were booths for magazines, vendors, and information bureaus. A balcony could be reached by a winding staircase located in the northwest corner of the room. On the center of the east side of the balcony sat a gigantic clock set in an ornamental iron antique case. The baggage room was located near the north entrance, where trunks and other baggage could be received. Pneumatic tubes were installed to carry the check to the main baggage and express rooms down below. An automatic elevator took the baggage from this street level to track level. The men’s waiting room featured both rocking and straight oak chairs. A light fixture with nine clusters of lights hung by chains from the ceiling. Each of the clusters weighed nearly 300 pounds and contained great round globes. A barber shop and bootblack stand were nearby. The women’s waiting room included mission oak rocking chairs covered in Morocco leather and two full-length French plate-glass mirrors. The terrazzo flooring took on more delicate shadings.  

The station included a dining room that could have been found in any great restaurant. The terrazzo floor from the main waiting room continued into this room, which featured a marble counter with 24 stools and 10 tables. The kitchen had two large ranges, a charcoal broiler, steam and serving tables, and a refrigerator with an ice-making machine.

Four stairways leading from the corners of the waiting room took visitors down to the concourse. Two stairways were intended for incoming passengers and two for outgoing passengers to streamline traffic during rush hours. The concourse was just over 100 feet long and allowed passengers to watch train traffic on the tracks below and take in a view of Mount Rainier. Ornamental iron gates on the concourse led to two stairways and two elevators that took passengers to the covered tracks below. The five tracks entering the rail yard ran between umbrella sheds made with corrugated steel tops. This furnished excellent protection for passengers between the cars and the entrance to the concourse.

Visitors to the grand opening were able to tour three trains. The Northern Pacific’s North Coast Limited, the Great Northern’s Oriental Limited, and the Harriman’s Shasta Limited were all lighted and fully staffed for tours. Among those in attendance was A. H. Stem of the architectural firm of Reed & Stem, who drew the plans for the station. Six days later, on May 7, crowds gathered again to watch the first passenger train, the Northern Pacific’s North Coast Limited, leave the station at 7 p.m. Ticket window opened at 5:30, and a lumberjack from Seattle was the first to purchase a ticket. The dining room was adorned with potted palms, large flower bouquets, and a crystal tower of sugar lit with incandescents as the first dinner was served.

World War II and After

Passenger rail service continued to bustle through the 1920s and 1930s. Tens of thousands of new citizens arrived at Union Station to make Tacoma and the surrounding areas home. Thousands more came to visit family or attend events in the city. During World War II, the USO Travelers Aid recognized the needs of troops and their families who were passing through Union Station. In collaboration with the Northern Pacific, the Tacoma Junior League, and the Tacoma Community Council, a troop-in-transit lounge was opened in the Union Station balcony. Open daily, the lounge provided visitors with comfortable seating, cots, tables, stationery, cigarettes, books, and magazines. A separate nursery was created on the main level of the station. In April 1944, the Tacoma Junior League hired Tacoma artist Peggy Strong to create two murals for the troops in the transit lounge; the murals depicted scenes from Paul Bunyan stories. Following the end of the war, the lounge was closed due to a decline in visitors. While in operation, the lounge served 105,913 individuals. The Paul Bunyan murals were removed from the station and later donated to the University of Puget Sound.

With the war over, passenger rail service declined sharply as people relied more on automobiles, buses, and airplanes for travel.  Newspaper editorials started to suggest new uses for Union Station, including as a bus terminal. In 1957, Pacific Parade Magazine reported that the station saw only 12 trains arrive and depart daily. At the peak of passenger train travel, it would have seen 12-14 trains a day in each direction.

The aging station was momentarily brought back to life in the spring of 1967 when the Northern Pacific let the Pierce County Heart Association use the station for its Heart Ball fundraiser. It was the first large event held in the station since the grand opening in 1911. On the evening of May 26, hundreds of attendees enjoyed dinner and dancing within the grand rotunda. The station was decorated with balloons, garlands, and sparkling candlelight, while women swung on red velvet rope swings in front of the windows on the balcony level. The event was a success, raising $6,000 for the heart association.

End of the Line

In early 1970, the U.S. Supreme Court approved the merger of the Northern Pacific, Great Northern, Burlington, and several smaller lines in the Pacific Northwest. The new railroad was to be known as Burlington Northern. 

On October 30, 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the Rail Passenger Service Act, creating the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, later known as Amtrak. Twenty railroad companies opted to turn over their passenger service to this new corporation. In March 1971, Amtrak announced its official routes and stations, to be launched May 1. Tacoma and Union Station were included, but the number of trains serving the station was reduced, and many smaller Washington towns were cut out from passenger rail service completely. Unlike the opening day of the station, there was no grand party to usher in the new service. The first Amtrak train left Union Station at 10:20 a.m. on May 1, bound for San Diego. Only a few passengers boarded the train.

Meanwhile, reports on the condition of the station indicated that the once magnificent dome had begun to leak, plaster was missing from the walls, and bricks had come loose during two previous earthquakes. Local groups began to call for the preservation of the building that held so much history. In March 1974, the State Department of Parks and Recreation placed the station on the National Register of Historic Sites. City officials met with Burlington Northern to demand that Union Station be brought up to city code. The city had deemed the building a hazard due to the number of structural defects. Burlington Northern assured the city it would make the needed repairs. In October 1974, the Tacoma Landmark Preservation Commission declared Union Station a historical landmark by unanimous vote.

Burlington Northern and Malls Northwest announced in late 1974 plans for a shopping center surrounding Union Station that would be called Depot Galleria. The center would have major department stores on both the north and south sides of the station, connected by glass-enclosed malls. Tacoma firm Seifer, Forbes, & Berry created the architectural drawings. Developers hoped to have the shopping center open by the fall of 1977. The Depot Galleria project was first placed on hold due to the Tacoma Spur Project, which was attempting to connect the downtown freeway with Interstate 5. By spring 1980, the mall project was officially declared dead; developers had failed to attract tenants for the department stores. "She’s too dear to destroy, but too expensive to restore. She’s a building suffering in limbo," wrote The News Tribune in April 1980 ("Union Station Plans Sidetracked"). While Burlington Northern had done some repairs on the station, major problems persisted. The number of trains arriving daily was now only six. 

The future of Union Station took another turn for the worse when Amtrak announced in December 1980 that it planned to move its Tacoma service to a new station. The cost of maintaining and staffing Union Station was simply not in the budget for Amtrak, which had recently paid $30,000 to have the roof repaired, only to have it continue to leak onto the floor of the rotunda. A modular temporary station was built on the platform to provide Amtrak service until the new structure could be built. Meanwhile, the roof continued to deteriorate, and in summer 1981, the rotunda was blocked off in fear of passengers being hit by falling plaster. When it rained, it was the job of one of the maintenance workers to climb the catwalks between the exterior copper roof and the interior plaster and empty out drums collecting water. In 1981, Burlington Northern announced plans to vacate the building and consolidate its Tacoma offices with those in Seattle and Vancouver, Washington. 

Fight for Restoration

Following the announcements from Amtrak and Burlington Northern, a group of citizens and city officials rallied in the fall of 1981 to save Union Station. While many older buildings had gone the way of the wrecking ball in the 1970s, the tide of urban renewal now had turned in favor of historical preservation. New rules for the allocation of state and federal funds, new tax incentives, and adaptations to permit and building codes encouraged the rehabilitation of historic properties. Old City Hall on the north end of Pacific Avenue was one of the first to be saved and restored for new uses. Tacomans hoped Union Station could be next. The city began talks with Burlington Northern to study a restoration plan, and in 1982, a group of around 90 citizens, known as Save our Station, opened headquarters at 1716 Pacific Avenue. Local historian Murray Morgan (1916-2000) was the honorary chairman. They held fundraisers and trumpeted the historical and economical importance of the depot.

Pierce County legislators pushed through the Union Station Bill in March 1984, just 30 minutes before the end of the legislative session. The bill allowed the City of Tacoma to lease Union Station after using public money to restore the building. Leasing the building would help the city pay for the renovation. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Dan Grimm with help from Rep. Brian Ebersole, both Pierce County Democrats. Meanwhile, the Tacoma SPUR/I-705 project continued forward with plans for the freeway to pass behind the station. The developers had shifted the route to provide more space behind Union Station and lowered the roadway to protect the views of the station and city waterway. However, the concourse of the station encroached 20 feet into the right of way for the freeway project. A new legal fight to save the concourse from the wrecking ball began in early 1984. The lawsuit was dropped later that year, and construction crews quickly took down the concourse.

On June 14, 1984, the last train pulled into Union Station from Olympia. Save our Station had organized a bus trip from Tacoma to Olympia for supporters to be on the last ride. Flooding in Nebraska delayed the normal train by 15 hours, putting the arrival in Tacoma at the new Amtrak station rather than Union Station. Amtrak put together a special two-coach train in Portland to ensure Union Station had a final visit from supporters. The train pulled into the station at 7:23 p.m. By 8 p.m. the doors were locked for the final time. 

Next Steps

In November 1984, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce installed a statue on the sidewalk in front of Union Station. By Tacoma sculptor Larry Anderson, New Beginnings depicted an entrepreneur arriving on Pacific Avenue 100 years ago with a carpet bag and a handful of plans. The statue’s title was a fitting slogan for the next chapter in the station’s history. Ideas for new beginnings filled the local papers; they included turning the building into a nightclub, a restaurant, a central transportation hub, or a jail. In a newspaper editorial on January 13, 1985, citizen Seymour Johnson supported the idea that the station to be repurposed as a federal courthouse. He spoke about the courthouse at the Post Office Building, which was running out of space for courtrooms and lacked parking. He ended his letter by calling on U.S. Representative Norm Dicks to help save Union Station.  

Dicks did get behind the fight to save the station. He began working with the General Services Administration (GSA), which was responsible for providing space for federal agencies, on plans to turn the station into a federal courthouse. Dicks argued to Congress that the federal courts needed the space, and that the renovation would be critical to the revitalization of Tacoma. He estimated the cost of rehabilitation and renovation to be around $20 million. He knew that it would take a collaboration between officials at the city, state, and federal levels, as well as private investors and donors.

A breakthrough occurred in March 1986 when the city and the federal government reached a tentative agreement whereby the station and some surrounding property would be turned over to the city for $1. The city would then hire architects to develop plans to turn the building into a courthouse. The General Services Administration was to be responsible for part of the renovation costs. The remainder would be covered by the city by selling bonds. The city would then lease the courtrooms to the GSA and use the lease payments to pay off the bonds. At the end of the lease, the station would belong to the federal government. 

The project took another step forward when the Tacoma City Council approved $1.5 million from the state for emergency repairs and planning, on the condition that the state would step in if the city withdrew from the station’s redevelopment. The state had shown interest in building a state historical museum adjacent to the station. Governor Booth Gardner then approved $2.9 million for the restoration of the station. But before the state’s money could be used, the building had to be acquired by the city from Burlington Northern. On September 21, 1988, the Tacoma City Council voted unanimously to buy the station and 1.87 acres of land underneath it for $1. Councilmen Tim Strege was credited with moving the agreement forward.  

Renovations Begin

City officials went to work on restoring the exterior brick and protecting the building from additional water leaks. Absher Construction of Puyallup was selected for the $2.4 million project to restore the depot’s copper roof and improve the masonry on the building. Local officials gathered in front of the building on February 6, 1989, to celebrate the start of renovation. It would take nearly a full year to restore the dome. The crew from U.S. Sheet Metal first had to remove 10 tons of old copper. As there were very few buildings in the U.S. with copper roofs, the crew had to consult a 1948 textbook, Modern Applications of Sheet Copper by Les Metalliers Champenois, to learn how to fit the 14 tons of new copper to the roof. The original copper crimper used to install the roof in 1910 was found at Gehr Sheet Metal Co. by Harold Steenbergen, an estimator for U.S. Sheet Metal. The crimper was used and even duplicated a wrinkle found in every sixth ridge just like the original roof. 

After years of negotiation, a new agreement was reached between the city of Tacoma and the federal government. The federal government would lease the refurbished Union Station for 30 years for use by the federal courts. The lease would produce the funds needed for the city to finance the project to restore the landmark. This agreement was approved by the Tacoma City Council in August 1989. On February 24, 1990, a crowd of mostly local politicians packed the station’s crumbling rotunda to celebrate the start of a $34.5 million project to remodel the depot and build an adjoining courthouse.

Another hurdle arrived when construction bids came in way over budget and forced additional delays. After months of working with the federal government on designing alternate plans to bring costs down, the city awarded the contract to Continental Heller Construction of Sacramento, California, and construction began in late 1990. Work crews met several challenges: Asbestos and lead paint had to be safely removed, abandoned oil storage tanks were discovered buried on the site, and while digging holes for a new elevator shaft, crews hit an artesian well. These issues resulted in the project going $1.8 million over the original budget, but did not cause further delays. 

New Federal Courthouse Opens

Union Station’s renovation and remodel was completed in May 1992, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on May 15. "By giving the 81-year-old Union Station new use, an architectural trophy that had lost its initial purpose has been reclaimed and Tacoma has shown how roots can renew" ("Union Station is All Dressed Up ..."). The final cost was close to $42 million. 

The federal government refused to sign the lease and move into the new building, however, claiming a long list of items that needed to be finished, from small nicks in the floors to soundproofing the bathroom in the prisoner’s holding cell. Finally, on September 22, 1992, federal officials signed the lease for the restored station and the new courthouse annex for $4 million for the next 30 years. In November, the new tenants of Union Station moved in.  

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan occupied the historic courtroom on the south side of the rotunda where the station’s original dining room had been located. The courtroom featured oak paneling throughout, a brass-railed balcony for court spectators, and elaborately detailed 24-foot ceilings. The north historic courtroom, with the same details as Bryan’s, was unoccupied at the time of opening. A suite of offices was found adjacent to the historic courtrooms, with the judge’s chambers and clerical personnel on the top floor and the law library and conference room below. The main waiting room under the rotunda was restored with renovations of the terrazzo floor, marble inlays, and plaster walls. The top of the interior of the dome, painted black during World War II to avoid being spotted by bombers, was restored. This area of the station would remain publicly accessible during business hours. 

The new annex was designed with a low profile from Pacific Avenue in order to not detract from the historic station. Senior U.S. District Court Judge Jack Tanner occupied the largest of eight courtrooms on two floors that featured a grand central hallway lit by chandeliers and skylights. There were two smaller magistrate courts and four bankruptcy courtrooms on the annex’s middle level. The annex also contained offices for court clerks, U.S. Marshalls, probation and pretrial workers, and a law library. A courtyard connected the two buildings and allowed for light to enter the lower levels of the annex. 

At formal opening ceremonies in February 1993, the guest of honor was U.S. District Court Judge Robert Takasugi. It was not the first time Takasugi had walked the halls of Union Station. Fifty-one years prior, he had joined his family as they were forced onto trains at Union Station, joining hundreds of other Japanese Americans who were sent to internment camps at Tule Lake in Pinedale, California during World War II.

The renovation of Union Station won the Washington State 1993 Heritage Award and a National Preservation Award presented during the 1994 National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference.

Backers of the renovation had long argued that the project would be the spark for the renovation of the area surrounding the station.  The new Washington State History Museum opened in 1996, neighboring the station. Across the street, the University of Washington opened its branch campus using historical buildings in 1997. Many other historical buildings once home to breweries and warehouses in the Union Station District have also been rescued from the wrecking ball and are flourishing. In August 2022, the lease on Union Station expired and the City of Tacoma transferred ownership to the federal government for $1.


“Local News,” August 21, 1883, Tacoma Daily Ledger, p. 4; “Local News,” Ibid., August 24, 1883, p. 4; “Local News,” Ibid., August 29, 1883, p. 4; “New Passenger Depot At The Foot Of Pacific Avenue To Be Opened To The Public Tomorrow,” Ibid., April 5, 1885, p. 4; “The New N.P. Depot: It Will Not Be Erected Until Sometime Next Year,” Ibid., January 23, 1892, p. 5; “Costly Depot to Be Built,” Ibid., February 17, 1907, p. 15; “Plans for Big Station to Be Built At Once,” Ibid., September 1, 1907, p. 15; “Objections to Vacation of Streets: Property Owners Oppose N.P. Railroad Plans,” Ibid., September 3, 1907, p. 12; “Progress Toward New Depot,Ibid., October 1, 1908, p. 4; “Days of “Shack” Numbered,” Ibid., January 15, 1909, p. 4; “Depot Work to Start March 20,” Ibid., January 21, 1909, p. 1; “Depot Work to Start Tomorrow,” Ibid., February 22, 1909, p. 1; “Tacoma Firm to Build New Hill Station,Ibid., July 29, 1909, p. 1; “Architect Comes to Inspect Work,” Ibid., February 2, 1910, p. 9; “Tacoma’s $750,000 Union Passenger Station as it Looks Today, About Two-thirds Complete,” Ibid., October 30, 1910, p. 1; “Tacoma Station Now Well Along,” Ibid., November 20, 1910, p. 1; “New Terminals Almost Ready,” Ibid., March 26, 1911, p. 37; “Three Fine Trains to be on Display,” Ibid., April 25, 1911, p. 9; “Tacoma’s $750,000 Passenger Station Ready for Formal Opening,” Ibid., April 30, 1911, p. 1; “Station is Monument to Tacoma Builders,” Ibid., April 30, 1911, p. 12; “Massive Building Follows Novel Architectural Lines: Looks More Like Huge Temple Than Bustling Terminal,” Ibid., April 30, 1911, p. 13; “Great Throng at Dedication,” Ibid., May 2, 1911, p. 1; “Union Station in Use Tonight,” Ibid., May 7, 1911, p. 6; “Union Station in Actual Use,” Ibid., May 8, 1911, p. 2; “The Depot Located: ‘Twill Be Built on Car Shops Site,Tacoma Daily News, June 9, 1891, p. 4; Contract is Let: Knoell Bros. Will Build Temporary Station for Northern Pacific,” Ibid., April 30, 1909, p. 5; “Start on Foundation: Work Probably Will Begin at N.P. Depot Next Week,Ibid., September 4, 1909, p. 17; “Tacoma’s Beautiful New Union Station Ready,” Ibid., April 29, 1911, p. 1; “Tacoma to Have Troops in Transit Lounge Thank to Work of Many,” The Tacoma News Tribune, November 11, 1943, p. 5; “Murals Painted for Service Men’s Lounge,” Ibid., April 6, 1944, p. 1; “USO Lounge AT Union Depot Is Closing Doors,” Ibid., November 21, 1946, p. 5; John Murphy, “City’s Union Station Opened 46 Years Ago,” Ibid., May 5, 1957, Pacific Parade Magazine, p. 3; “56 Years Later: Heart Dance To Be Allowed in NP Depot,” Ibid., March 12, 1967, p. D-2; “Architects to Revamp Depot for Heart Ball,” Ibid., April 9, 1967, p. D-3; Rita Trujillo, “Fewer Trains Due for Ann Ransom, a Red Cap for 28 years,Ibid, May 1, 1971, p. 1; Jack Wilkins, “National Historic Status Assigned to Union Station,” Ibid. March 28, 1974, p. A-4; Marvin Bidstrup, ‘Rehabilitation’ Possible For Old Union Station,” Ibid. July 21, 1974, p. E-10; Al Gibbs, “Union Depot to be Cited as Hazard,” Ibid., August 2, 1974, p. A-3;  Marvin Bidstrup, “BN Shopping Center Planned for Depot,” Ibid., September 8, 1974, p. A-1; Carl Lizberg, “$14 Million Development Will Center On Union Station,” Ibid., February 23, 1975, p. D-8; Carl Lizberg, “Union Station Shopping Center ‘On Back Burner’,” December 3, 1978  p. I-8; John Gillie, “Union Station Plans Sidetracked,” Ibid., April 6, 1980, p. E-1; John Gillie, “Amtrak to Leave Grand Old Rail Depot,” Ibid., December 16, 1980, p. A-1; John Gillie, “A Magnificent Monument, But The Roof Leaks,” Ibid. January 18, 1981 p. F-9; Betty Anderson, “Another Move Underway To Save Union Station,” Ibid. October 4, 1981, p. A-15; John Gillie, “Warehouse-Union Station District Showing Signs Of Rebirth,” Ibid., February 21, 1982, p. A-3; Richard Sypher, “Key Questions Keep Union Station Facelift Sidetracked,” Ibid., July 3, 1983, p. F-4; Joseph Turner, “Five City Council Members Back Plan To Buy Union Station for $1,” Ibid., November 12, 1983, p. C-1; Emmet Pierce, “Union Station Bill Resurrected,Ibid., March 9, 1984, p. A-1; “Nostalgia Trip Set On Last Train To Union Depot Next Thursday,” Ibid., June 7, 1984, p. C-11;  Dave Workman, “Last Stop for Tacoma’s Union Station,” Ibid. June 15, 1984, p. A-1; John Song, “Wrecking Ball Rolls In With A Rush,” Ibid., August 5, 1984, p. B-1; “New Beginnings’ Unveiled,” November 15, 1984, p. B-2; Seymour Johnson, “Convert Station Into Courthouse - Letter to Editor”, Ibid., January 13, 1985, p. C-5; Bob Lane, “Dicks: Use Union Station for U.S. Courthouse,” Ibid., February 12, 1985, p. B-1; Richard Sypher, “Union Station May Have Its Day As Courthouse,Ibid., July 25, 1985, p. B-1; Rick Seifert, “Gardner Seeks Funds For Union Station,” Ibid., January 23, 1986, p. A-1; Joseph Turner, “Breakthrough on Union Station,” Ibid., March 8, 1986, p. A-1; “City OKs Buying Of Union Depot For $1 As First Step In Planned Refurbishing,” Ibid., May 1, 1986, p. B-1; John Gillie, “City To Hire Architect For Union Station,” Ibid., March 23, 1987, p. B-10; Mark Higgins, “State Attaches Strings To Union Station Cash,” Ibid., January 16, 1988, p. A-1; Joseph Turner, “Depot Funded: Tacoma Accepts State’s Money for Union Station,” Ibid., February 10, 1988, p. B-1; “Union Station New Budget,” Ibid., March 27, 1988, p. B-3; Jim Szymanksi, “Union Station Plans Roll Slowly Forward,” Ibid., June 16, 1988, p. B-1; Jim Szymanksi, “Union Station Sale Due Tonight,” Ibid., September 20, 1988, p. B-5; “Facelift Party Set For Union Station,” Ibid.,  February 4, 1989, p. B-2; Stuart Eskenazi, “Union Station Restoration Pact Reached,” Ibid., March 11, 1989, p. A-1; Jim Szymanksi, “Depot Plans Still Lacks Cash, Land, Court Lease,” Ibid., July 13, 1989, p. B-1; Jim Szymanksi, “Union Station Lease Finally OK’d By City,” Ibid., August 2, 1989, p. B-2; Bart Ripp, “Crimped Copper Caper: Old Device Helped Put New Roof On Copper-Clad Union Station,” Ibid., January 4, 1990, Soundlife, p. 6; “Ceremony Will Note Union Station Lease,” Ibid., February 23, 1990, p. B-2; Jill Leovy, “Union Station Plans Completed,” Ibid., May 30, 1990, p. E-1; Jim Szymanksi, “Union Station Bids Come in Way Too High”, Ibid., August 31, 1990, p. B-1; Kim Severson, “City Finds Feasible Union Station Bid,” Ibid., October 24, 1990, p. B-1; Kim Severson, “Final OK means Union Station Work Can Begin,” Ibid., November 20, 1990, p. B-1; Kim Severson, “Union Station Project Ahead of Schedule,” Ibid., July 17, 1991, p. B-6; Rob Tucker, “$1.8 Million Overrun At Union Station,” Ibid., October 23, 1991, p. B-1; Al Gibbs, “Courtrooms at Union Station are Stepping Back In History,” Ibid., January 21, 1992, p. B-1; Shay Bright, “Union Station: It’s Proving To Be Catalyst For New Business Growth,” Ibid., March 29, 1992, The Downtowner, pp. 2, 6-7; Barbara Clements, “Union Station Is All Dressed Up For Party,” Ibid., May 15, 1992, p. B-1; Blaine Johnson, “Preservation Embraces Revival At Union Station,” Ibid., May 24, 1992, p. I-10; Barbara Clement, “Union Station Lease Signed By City, U.S.,” Ibid., September 22, 1992, p. B-1; John Gillie, “All Nearly Aboard At Union Station,” Ibid., November 13, 1992, p. B-1; “Our Union Station: Preserving History and Resources,” Ibid., February 2, 1993, Conservation Magazine, p. 2; Debby Abe, “Victim Of Historic Injury Dedicates Temple Of Justice,” Ibid., February 13, 1993, p. B-1; “Union Station Project Wins State Award,” Ibid., May 22, 1993, p. B-2; “Union Station Shares Historic Preservation Award,” Ibid., October 24, 1994, p. B-2; Debbie Cafazzo, “Chihuly Glass Art Will Stay,” Ibid., May 25, 2000, p. A-1; Peter Callaghan, “Once Nearly Doomed, Depot Now Symbol Of City’s Rebirth,” Ibid., March 2, 2003, p. B-1; Rosemary Ponnekanti, “Union Station Glass Art There Forever; Chihuly Gives It To The Federal Government,” Ibid., January 26, 2017, p. A-1; “Tearing Down Old Depot,” The Tacoma Times, May 27,1909, p. 8; Tacoma, the Pacific Terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad. (Tacoma: The Ledger Steam Book and Job Printing House, 1887). https://www.loc.gov/item/rc01001474/ (accessed May 2, 2024); United States Department of the Interior, Tacoma: The Union Depot District. (Seattle: National Park Service, 1981).

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You