DC -- Union Station (exterior):
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- US_170215_01.JPG: Delaware Avenue & Columbus Circle, NE
Architecture by Daniel Burnham, 1908
Designed in the Beaux-Arts style, this was the world's largest train station when it opened - the station and terminal zone originally covered approximately 200 acres and included 75 miles of tracks. For over half a century its coffered ceilings and granite walls provided an impressive "gateway" for travelers to the nation's capital; among them were kings, queens, and presidents as well as millions of Americans and visitors from around the world.
With the growth of air travel, the station fell increasingly into disuse. A mid-1970's attempt to revitalize it as a "National Visitor Center" failed. The building was closed in 1981. Later that year the Congress enacted the Union Station Redevelopment Act, and the 1985 - 1988 renovation project restored the building's grandeur. Today, in addition to serving Amtrak, MARC and Metrorail travellers, the station houses over a hundred shops and restaurants and hosts exhibitions and international cultural events.
In front of the entrance to the station stands a 45-foot-tall marble fountain monument to Christopher Columbus, topped by a 15-foot figure of the explorer. It was created by sculptor Lorado Taft, who worked with Daniel Burnham on its design.
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