Union Station - Lincoln from History to Hollywood, Springfield

#7 of 10 in Museums in Springfield
History Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
Springfield Union Station in Springfield, Illinois, is a former train station and now part of the complex of buildings that together form the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is located at 500 East Madison Street (5th & Madison) in downtown Springfield, adjacent to the Lincoln Presidential Library.
Springfield Union Station was designed in the Richardson Romanesque style in 1896 as a combined passenger terminal for several railroads serving Springfield, including the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Chicago, Peoria and St. Louis Railroad, Illinois Central Railroad, and the St. Louis, Peoria and Northern Railway. Although the structure was intended to be used jointly by these railroads, the Illinois Central was the predominant carrier, and the architect was Illinois Central chief architect Francis T. Bacon. The station was built in 1897-1898 at a cost of $75,000, and opened for business on January 2, 1898. During its 73 years of active service, the station carried substantial passenger train traffic to and from Chicago, St. Louis, and other cities.
The vast majority of passenger trains serving Springfield Union Station were operated by the Illinois Central Railroad, although when the station was first opened, Illinois Central only served Springfield on a route extending northeast to Clinton, Gilman and Chicago. In 1899, Illinois Central acquired the Springfield to St. Louis segment of the former St. Louis, Peoria and Northern Railway, allowing expansion of Illinois Central service from Springfield south to St. Louis. On June 17, 1900, two premier trains (the Daylight Special and the Diamond Special) were inaugurated on this route to compete with existing St. Louis-Springfield-Chicago service offered by the Chicago and Alton Railroad. By 1936, the Illinois Central name trains serving Springfield were the Green Diamond and the Night Diamond.
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Union Station - Lincoln from History to Hollywood reviews

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82 reviews
  • Built in 1897-1898, the Union Station in Springfield IL was originally an important part of Illinois Central Railroad, and it had been in operation as a terminal till 1971. Much later, in 2004 the...  more »
  • The exterior is beautiful. The interior is worth your while. Usually, I don't like to read a lot of plaques on display walls. But here, I wanted to read everything and absorb each artifact.  more »
  • Beautifully restored train station but it needs more exhibits or activities inside. I thought it would be much more extensive and engaging but aside from a model train layout (which wasn't running because the train was stuck) and a couple large train tables for the kids to play on, there wasn't much to see. Maybe they are still in the process of putting this attraction together? I hope they continue building on it and provide more history and backstory on the station too.
  • Not sure why this is a tourist site. A guy working here said the place was open because it was somehow linked to Lincoln. Saw a cool model train.

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