Union Station, Springfield, IL
Award Type: Honor Award
For many years, Union Station was the proud gateway to Springfield. Now, after a spectacular restoration, it stands prouder than ever – as the centerpiece of a reborn urban park, a much-needed resource for visitors, and a showcase for historic preservation at its best.
Until last year, Springfield’s Union Station, designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style by Francis T. Bacon in 1896 and once a hub of activity in the state capital, had devolved through radical alterations and neglect into a vacant eyesore. In 2000, the State of Illinois acquired Union Station and began a complete rehabilitation of the building and surrounding area. The meticulous preservation effort, completed in 2007, resurrected this treasured landmark and returned Union Station to its rightful role as downtown anchor and focus of community pride.
A $12.5 million renovation restored the Station’s original appearance including reconstructed ticket windows and period appropriate lighting fixtures. The station’s crowning glory, a soaring 150-foot clock tower taken down in 1947, was expertly reconstructed. New features include a much-needed visitor’s center as well as office and meeting spaces. The station also serves as a gateway to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM). The park between the station and the ALPLM was previously run-down and considered unsafe. Since its thorough makeover, it acts as a welcoming link between the station’s visitors’ center and the ALPLM and provides Springfield with its only venue for outdoor events.