|Year(s) Listed: • 2005
|City/Town: • Topeka
|Location Class: • Railroad
|Built: 1927 | Year Saved: 2004
|Historic Designation: • National Register of Historic Places (October 1, 2002)
|Awards: • Medallion Award
|Contributor: Kansas Preservation Alliance
The former Union Pacific Railroad Station is a grant neoclassical passenger depot, designed by noted architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood who designed at least twenty-six Union Pacific stations and depots. It has a spectacular interior, typical of the grand stations of the early part of this century. Once a bustling center of the capital city, the station lost its glamour and usefulness with the decline of passenger service and Amtrak’s move to the Santa Fe depot in 1971. Used as a freight station for a few years, the depot closed permanently in 1988. Fire destroyed a part of the vacant building in 1992 and the structure was facing demolition. Railroad Heritage, Inc. (then Topeka Railroad Days) requested a delay to allow for structural analysis of the building; Union Pacific Railroad agreed. Since that time the continuous efforts of Railroad Heritage, Inc. have resulted in the rehabilitation of the building and its re-opening in June of 2004 as the Great Overland Station. More than six million dollars in private funds, federal and state grants and rehabilitation tax credits were secured to finance the project. The Station now serves as a museum for railroad heritage and community meeting space. In addition to Railroad Heritage, Inc., those responsible for the success of the project include Glenn, Livingood, Penzler, and Miller Architects of Lawrence, and Schwerdt Design Group of Topeka; Murray & Sons Construction Co. Inc., and Kelley Construction, Inc.