Designed by renowned architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood, the beautiful Union Pacific passenger station was reported to be "one of the finest passenger stations on the line" when it opened January 27, 1927. With its 34-foot ceiling and ornate glazed terra cotta ornamentation, the elegant building is perhaps the finest representation of classic railroad architecture in Kansas.
The last passenger train left the station May 2, 1971. The building was later remodeled for railroad offices, abandoned in 1988, and damaged by fire in 1992. At that point, Railroad Heritage, Inc. secured a lease from the Union Pacific Railroad to prevent the building's demolition. A Use and Feasibility Study indicated that a museum celebrating railroad heritage was the most desirable use for the station, and a Capital Campaign Assessment demonstrated that funds could be raised to that end. On July 2, 1998, the Union Pacific Corporation formally donated the station to Topeka Railroad Days, Inc. The Great Overland Station Project Team was established to direct efforts to preserve the station and transform it into a railroad heritage museum. In June 2004, The Great Overland Station opened its doors again as a community landmark.
Category: Museums - History