After visiting Olvera Street, be sure to also pay a visit to Union Station about a block away.
Union Station was built in 1939, it's Spanish/mission style architecture has a much different feel than the grand main rail stations in other cities like New York's Grand Central Terminal built in 1913 or the Chicago's neoclassical Union Station built in 1913-25.
Since the station is in Los Angeles, it's not surprising that it has been used in many films including The Way We Were, Blade Runner and Guilty By Suspicion. It was also used in the film Union Station which was set in Union Station in Chicago, Mission Style is definitely not an architectural style used in Chicago!
Hard to believe, but California does have a railway network. Union Station is the main Los Angeles stop and it is located in Downtown Los Angeles, just north of Little Tokyo and south of Chinatown. The grand Neo-colonial style building was completed in 1939 by the architects John Parkinson and Donal Parkinson. The former was one of the architects who designed the Los Angeles City Hall.
Connected to the Union Station South gardens is the Metropolitan Water District building via a beautiful plaza. Within this plaza is a beautiful aray of flowers, plants and some impressive fountains with beautiful mosaics. One of the fountains that is along the West wall is filled with Koi fish. They have some wonderful tables to sit and relax. A couple of people were enjoying the weather and reading. Just another lovely area for passengers and employees can enjoy.
At the East end of Union Station is the bus transit center. I think the plaque says it all about this individual.
The plaque reads:
Transportation should not simply be the random movement of people. At its best, it can bring people together spiritually as well as physically, as it speeds them towards their destinations. A great transit center should, therefore, teach people about where they come from, celebrate the place where they have arrived, and inspire them as they continue on their journey.
Nick Patsaouras (1943-)
Who recognizes, as did his Greek forebears that the quality with which we build our civic buildings and public spaces is a reflection of the value we place in our democratic institutions.
In gratitude for his vision, leadership, and perseverance in guiding the planning, design, and realization of the MTA Headquarters Building and this Transit Plaza.
Caltrans Development Corporation
This station represents an era that has yet to be forgotten and to be still appreciated. I have for years wanted to see her up in person. Used as a backdrop for many Hollywood movies, Union Station still holds that beautiful architecture of the late 1930's. She has seen the trends of travel good and bad. Fortunately she is experiencing a new trend and need of affordable travel. I enjoy my time exploring the grounds and imagining seeing William Holden, Glen Ford, and James Cagney casually awaiting their next train or that welcoming home coming of some G.I.'s returning from the war. To me it represent Spanish Colonial design with painted Aztec/Santa Fe designs in various areas, marble inlaid floors, beautiful wood beams on the ceiling and the beautiful deco style waiting room chairs. The huge lighting fixtures are original. Make sure you take a peek at the grand ticketing area. They have a barrier, but you can still peek in. Just to west of the buiding is the old train restaurant. Although closed off, you can still look inside the glass doors and see how grand it was. One of the last Harvey House restaurants, but still in intack. There are two gardens on each side of the train main entrances with some beautiful fountains. The West side is the original entrance, where the East entrance is where the bus services are and is of a modern design, but just as beautiful. This station still has 10 tracks servicing 80 train departures. A true gem being appreciated.
National Register of Historic Places #80000811
and Los Angeles Historic–Cultural Monument #101
While browsing around the train station we noticed so many wonderful pieces of pubic art. The first is the Mural for City of Dreams, River of History by Richard Wyatt. The second is by May Sun, the River Bench made of beautiful mosiacs tiles and the third is a sculpted mountain attached to the bench is actually includes chinese pots, bottles, and other artifacts, that were found during excavations around Union Station since some of the additional structure was built on the original site of Chinatown. The fourth is the floor through out the lobby represents Los Angeles' native flora, fauna, and animals by May Sun also.
Located towards the East Entrance of Union Station.
On the North and South side of the Union Station building is located some really special places. On the North end is an area of relaxation. I lovely mosiac fountain that is located against the far wall. Lots of wonderful benches to sit and just relax. We sat out here while waiting for our next train home. The South side there is another lovely area that is more open and with not a lot of shade trees, but just as inviting. It has lots of wonderful plants and fauna to enjoy and if your so incline on a sunny day, soak up the sun.
There are three other plaques on the far wall of the North Gardens, but I have only two to show.
The first one reads:
Union Passenger Terminal
1939 - 1989
Constructed by the Southern Pacific, Santa Fe, and the Union Pacific Railroads.
Opened May 7, 1939, it was considered to be the most impressive railroad station
of it's type in the entire west. In it's heydey the terminal covered 52 acres, employed
1,100 people, served 56 trains per day, and handled 23 million sacks of mail annually.
Through the portals of this historic edifice have passed the great and near-great of the world.
Dedicated May 7, 1989
By Platrix Chapter No.2
E Clampus Vitus
The other reads:
Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal
50 Years of Service
to the City of Los Angeles
1939 - 1989
Souther Pacific, Santa Fe, and Union Pacific
Dedicated May 7, 1989