Sample Research Paper on History of Union Station

History of Union Station

Los Angeles Union Station is a main railway station being the biggest railroad passenger workstation in the whole Western United States. Union Station started its operations in 1939. It is a famous tourist site in Downtown Los Angeles. In the year 1980, it was scheduled in the United Stated Nationwide Register of significant Place. The combination of Art Deco architectural and Spanish colonial style of the rail facility that till now is an important transportation hub, and an admired movie shooting site base having been seen in dozens of classic movies such as and “Impunity ” and “The Hustler” The building rows of soaring palm trees, stunning, care of this well-known classic construction, and the white signal tower is memento of the ancient history of ancient Los Angeles, worked as a Spanish protectorate (Klein 44). The facility’s Hall most idiosyncratic feature is a separate leather sofa, deluxe interiors, and high ceilings and decorated wood inlay tinted marble floors, which are generating a sense of extending conventional atmosphere and breathing space. On both elevations of the main waiting space also have a terrace garden, do not have a fashion. The recount of Union Station is revolved around three aspects; Location, Architecture, and Services. Likewise,

This paper gives an incisive look into the history of the Union station. In this prospect, there are three sets of theses that this analysis tries to address. One of them is the architecture where we would dwell on the main architects of this rail facility with keen consideration on their contribution both in expertise and intellectual terms.  Additionally, we would give provide description of the type of artwork that was used in designing and constructing this noble station. Secondly, we would give a discussion on the location of the whole station and how strategic it is to the economic development of the whole country.  Lastly, this paper provides a narration on the service that this station bring to the entire country that makes it so valuable and have a high sense of attraction.

In 1926, a bill was proposed providing Los Angeles voters a choice between the construction of a vast network of elevated railways and the construction of a much smaller Union Station to consolidate different railroad terminals. The election would take on racial connotations and become a defining moment in the development of Los Angeles. It was approved in a controversial election in 1926 1st built in the 1930s (Klein 19). The Union Station Served as a consolidator of rail services of various railroads such as the Santa Fe, Union Pacific, and Southern Pacific. It ultimately became the final Great Railway Station constructed in the United States basing a reason for entering on the National Register of Historic Places (“Union Station | History”).

Presently, the Union Station is a transport center for Southern California, transporting a capacity of approximately 110,000 passengers every day. The rail facility is the base departure and terminal center of three of Amtrak’s trains taking care of long distance journeys. Further, it hosts numerous Metro Rail subway and Metrolink customer trains. The location is further served by numerous light railway lines. In the direction of the East of the station is Patsaouras transportation Plaza, a bus stop that serves numerous bus lines under metropolitan carriers and Metro. It is the hub of Los Angeles commerce as it provides the system through which merchandise and services are conveyed to various destinations.


In the context of the architectural design, the station is seen to have been built using the blend of both the Art Deco and the Spanish colonial culture of architecture. Additionally,  the blends were brought together in order to exhibit a high sense of quality in the construction of this rail fro it was used for the real purpose of making sure that it serves many citizens in the country.  The station was design by John Parkinson with the help of Donald Parkinson. It should be noted that Donald designs most of the parts of the rail facility that was located around the Los Angeles which inculcates the one that passes through the city of Los Angeles itself.  The architectural structure of this station is deemed to be quite complex and hence it requires various styles.  The Union Station’s waiting space contains enclosed backyard portico on its either elevations. Originally, the southern backyard was utilized by passengers off boarding the trains. The partitions created in the train were designed to offer both comfort and high level of ease while on board.  Additionally the interior space was coated with sound proof materials for the purposes of sound protection.  Design was also made with keen attention to helping in the transportation during the world war hence they were fitted high level safety gears that were deemed quite important during the times of war.

The structure of the interior space:

The internal walls are premeditated in a manner that it perceived to be divided into two portions. The upper sides contain an early shape of an acoustical title whilst the lower parts are finished of travertine marble. The separations of the walls provide the interior design a good quality look. The station’s base is exclusively designed being terra cotta contain a central sliver of marble. The floor’s plan is of its own as it is remarkable for most floors to have travertine and marble as they are supple. The waiting room’s upper limit is finished with steel with an outer shell of wood (“Union Station (Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal) Los Angeles Conservancy”).

According to the history of early Union Station:

Union Station’s gardens and patios welcomed travelers to the sunny and mild climate of Los Angeles while the building’s blend of the Spanish Colonial Revival, Mission Revival and Moderne styles reflects popular architectural design in Southern California at the time. Union Station was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) #101 in 1972 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. In 1992 Union Station underwent a major restoration effort. (Union Station (Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal) | Los Angeles Conservancy)

Los Angeles union station is one of the busiest stations that are seen to blend both the historic value and the transportation stance of making building the economy.  additionally,  the startling new look of the railway that emanates from La Grande station had an attack by earthquake in the year 1993 that made the government to spend some more funds to make it more appealing for transport. It should also be noted that the passenger services were provided by Atchison, the Santa Fe Railway, the Union pacific railroad and the southern pacific railroad.  All stations are connected to the whole triangulated system that runs to coordinate with the current Los Angeles Union Station.  Moreover, the well known executive luxury train carried which carried the various Hollywood actors to their various destinations was a branch of this Union station that brought much revenue and pride to this region. The heavy use of the Los Angeles train was seen in during the World War 2 where it served as a very critical tool for army transport to various war fields.

Metrolink commuter rail:

Metrolink commuter rail consists of 7 lines and fifty five stations which operates 624.7km of the rail network. This commuter system serves south California. Its speed is up to 127 km/h in sections of orange county line. The system is operated in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernadino, Ventura and Riverside counties. Also it connects Los Angeles region metro rail system, and San Diego commuter rail and Amtrak Rail’s Pacific Surfiner, Southwest Chief intercity services. The metro-link was developed in 1991 and was given the name Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) which was later called Metro-link as it was user friendly and due to marketing purposes and fully started operating in 1992.The average use of the service grew tremendously but was accompanied with a slight fall weekly.

Metro Rail line that is also in the station serves about 300 Metro trains. The train departs every day of the week except the weekends. The Metro Purple subway and the Metro Red lines with their last stop union station it divides two tracks that are just below the union station. Moreover, it is made to have two entrances where one is at Patsaouras Transit Plaza and the other is situated at union stations man con course on the western side of the multifaceted structure. Additionally, Metro Gold Line passes through the union station between East Los Angeles and Pasadena. Tracks 1 and 2 are used by trains of the union’s station number 14 which is an outdoor track. The area can be reached from staircase and elevator by passing the passenger platform which an art installation is called Images of Commonality. Metro Liner that is commonly called the metro silver line. This bus makes a stop at the outer parts of union station. It operates in Downtown Los Angeles, Harbour Gateway Transit center, El Monte Bus station and San Pedro through El Monte and Harbour transit way. Their stopping point is the southwest corner of the station.

The Union Station’s waiting room contains enclosed garden patios on its either sides. Initially, the southern garden was used by passengers leaving the trains. The interior walls are designed in a manner that it looks divided into two parts. The upper parts contain an early form of an acoustical title while the lower parts are made of travertine marble. The division of the walls gives the interior design a good look. Similarly, the station’s floor is uniquely designed being terra cotta having a central strip of marble. The floor’s design is of its own as it is unusual for most floors to contain marble and travertine as they are soft. The waiting room’s ceiling is made of steel with an appearance of wood. In other words, the interior design of the structure is strategically designed and made with durable materials (Alexander 42).

Next to the main building towards the south is a Union Station’s restaurant that was designed by Mary Colter, a southwestern architect. The architect did a good job in designing the restaurant as it is strategically made with a counter at its center. It is believed that the building was the final among the “Harvey House” restaurants to be included in a passenger terminal design. The restaurant is closed with most of its interior furnishings stripped. However, it stands tall with a rectangular shape with a circular counter at the center and streamlined booths. The specular internal tile floor depicts a Navajo blanket pattern. Besides, there is also a Streamliner Modern cocktail lounge that is closed and was designed by the southwestern architect. The union’s original concourse contains a 34m counter and a 19m high ceiling. Like most structures in the Union Station, it is closed and rented for special events and filming (Alexander 59).

The station’s proposal indicated that the station was to be located at the center of Los Angeles’ Chinatown. It was opposed by some individuals arguing that it was not to be built in the midst of a town thereby leading to voting for approval. After the voting, the station was set to be built across the street emanating from Los Angeles Plaza in Chinatown (Alexander 22). It’s the efforts of Harry Chandler, a Los Angeles Times Publisher, and Christine Sterling, a preservationist that changed the station’s location thereby preserving the Los Angeles Plaza neighborhood (Los Angeles Union Station).

The history of the China Town

One of the reasons why the union station was placed at the heart of Loss Angeles was because of the initial existence of the china town. Moreover, in the ancient times, this location was inhabited by Chinese who came from Guangdong province in southern china. These Chinese immigrants were hired to provide labor for the building of the railroad for the union station. The enterprising culture the Chinese made the town to blossom in terms of economic developments, the cultural theater, the Chinese homemade merchandise and other numerous goods traded by the Chinese helped the Chinese here to be economically stable and since this area was inhabited by the Chinese, it was named the Chinese town. Advent of racial discrimination and restructuring of the government laws made saw the Chinese vacated from this place in a very painful way.

The massacre of 1871

The massacre that occurred due to racism, numerous Chinese working here were killed and some relocated to the new Chinese town. Additionally, the main force behind the prosecution of the Chinese was because they were doing well in terms of bringing business and gaining much from the trade.  The law restricted them from gaining citizenship and this was the reason why the old china town was removed in order to pave way for the construction of the union station and diminish the prosperity of the Chinese immigrants. These laws and regulations leaned on the various boundaries that were very crucial in economic development.  The killing of the Chinese in this old china town brought a high backdrop in terms of economic development among the Chinese immigrants.  The transcending effect was that the some Chinese had to go back home in search of good grounds for high level of economic survival since in this land, they were being discriminated. Likewise,

The Union Station is located in the northern parts of Downtown Los Angeles. The station is bounded by four streets namely; Alameda Street, Vignes Street, Cesar Chavez Avenue, and the Hollywood Freeway. The Station is located across Alameda Street upon accessing it from El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historical Park and Los Angeles’ Olvera Street. The Terminal Annex building is located on the opposite side of Chavez Avenue Underpass. The Station’s site is a few meters from Civic Center and Chinatown.

Patsaouras Transit Plaza is to the east side of the Union Stations:

The Patsaouras Transit Plaza connects to the El Monte Bus Station. The Foothill Transit 699 line runs through the station.  Additionally, Antelope Valley Transit Authority, Citadel Outlets Express, City of Santa Clarita Transit, Dodger Stadium Express, Fly Away Bus, LADOT, Megabus, Metro, Mount St. Mary’s College Shuttle, Orange County Transportation Authority, and University of Southern California Shuttles operate bus services in the transit center.

The Plaza serves several linking bus lines such as Metro Express lines, Metro local, Metro Rapid, and many municipal bus lines. Moreover, FlyAway express bus services and several shuttles are attached to Patsaouras Transit Plaza. The Transit Plaza’s name is obtained from Nick Patsaouras, who is a former RTD member as well as public transport advocate (Los Angeles Union Station).

The Gateway Transit Center encompasses the station, Patsaouras Transit Plaza, El Monte Busway western terminus, and the Metro building that serves as their headquarters. In addition to this, these components are strategically built in terms of location in the sense that they allow easy movement of people and goods. For instance, Patsaouras Transit Plaza is located a few meters from the station terminal to link up rail and roads. Passengers easily access the station through the bus lines provided. Just like its architectural design, the location of Union Nation highly boosts its relevance as a tourist attraction center.

In a nut shell, the Los Angeles Union Station is on the best rail facilities in the country and needs to be preserved for its historical. Union station is one of country’s well-known and very busy places, visited by over 40 million persons annually and contains several restaurants, shops and cafes. The station is seen as one of the best historical sites that have been existence.  The station is seen to have been built using the blend of both the Art Deco and the Spanish colonial culture of architecture. Additionally,  the blends were brought together in order to exhibit a high sense of quality in the construction of this rail fro it was used for the real purpose of making sure that it serves many citizens in the country. The station was design by John Parkinson with the help of Donald Parkinson. The blend of these tow very critical architectural designs made it possible for the various inception of the good artwork that was postulated by the various parties concern. Los Angeles union station now serves various parts of the country in terms of transportation as well as the historic site which the ancient trade used to be carried out by the Chinese immigrants and was call the china town. In general, the station is deemed to have high economic value that boosts the economy of the whole of United States.

Works Cited

Alexander, Christopher J. Julius Shulman’s Los Angeles. Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute and J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011. Print.

Klein, Norman. The History of Forgetting – Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory. New

Youk: Verso, 1997. Print

“Los Angeles Union Station.” N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

Musicant, Marlyn, William Deverell, Matthew W. Roth, and Marlyn Musicant. Los Angeles Union Station. N.p., 2014. Print.

“Patsaouras Transit Plaza (Los Angeles).” Foothill Transit. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

“Timeline.” Union Station. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

Ulin, David. Writing Los Angeles A Literary Anthology. New York: Literary Classics of the The United States, 2002. Print.

“Union Station (Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal) | Los Angeles Conservancy.” Los Angeles Conservancy | Preserving & Revitalizing Greater Los Angeles’ Architectural Heritage. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

“Union Station | History.” LA Metro Home | Getting Started.