Oregon and Washington Station opens in Seattle amid fanfare on May 20, 1911.

  • By Heather M. MacIntosh
  • Posted 2/22/1999
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 935
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On May 20, 1911, the Oregon and Washington Station (now Union Station) opens amid fanfare. The terminal, located at 4th Avenue S and S Jackson Street, is the joint terminus for Union Pacific Railroad and the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (called the Milwaukee Road). The Oregon and Washington Railroad, a subsidiary of the Union Pacific, gives the station its first name. The station, the second co-terminus located in Seattle, is touted as the "handsomest on Harriman lines." (Harriman was E. H. Harriman [1848-1909], railroad magnate and financier, until his death in 1909 president of the Union Pacific Railroad Co.)

Construction of the station began in January 1910. Its debut was ceremonious but simple. Local school children were asked to write essays describing the new building and its importance to the city. The children marched through the streets to the station, where a local band treated them and other participants to a concert.

The train Shasta Limited, "its speed limited only to the nerve of the man in the cab," was displayed at the opening.

Seven days after the inauguration of the station, and the arrival of the first Oregon and Washington (Union Pacific) train, the Milwaukee launched service from Chicago to Seattle.


"New Station Handsomest On Harriman Lines," Seattle Post-Intelligencer May 7, 1911, sec. 2, p. 8.

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