Union Station was built in 1911 as a replacement for a previous depot that had been built in 1875. It was abandoned in the 1970s but renovated and reopened in 2000 as a bus/train terminus with retail, business offices, and event space.
The first railroad depots in Worcester were small, serving
trains traveling to and from Boston beginning in 1835. The original Union
Station at Washington Square was built in 1875, featuring a 212-foot clock
tower and granite lions, and saw 10,000 passengers daily [1; 2]. This station
was replaced by the standing Union Station in 1911, and its lions were moved to
East Park (now Christoforo Colombo Park) . The second Union Station, built
for the Boston and Albany (B&A) Railroad, was designed by the Philadelphia
firm Watson and Huckel. The building features French Renaissance style architecture,
an elliptical stained glass skylight, terra cotta and marble floors, and
originally included a pair of 175-foot towers (which were removed in1926 due to
structural instability caused by the vibrations of the trains). In addition to
the B&A, the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad and the Boston and
Maine Railroad also used the station, with 140 trains per day coming through
Union Station [1; 2].
Trolley service at Union Station was discontinued in 1945,
and as train travel decreased throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the station
closed and was boarded up in 1972 [1; 2]. Within the decade, little remained
but the skeleton of the building, the plaster and beams having crumpled to the
floor under the skylight's missing panels . The non-profit Union Station
Alliance formed in 1992, and in 1994, the Worcester Redevelopment Authority
(WRA) purchased the station and began a $32 million restoration directed by the
architectural firm of Finegold Alexander & Associates. The marble floor and
stained glass ceiling of the main hall were restored, new red oak and mahogany
trim installed, and the towers re-built with steel reinforcement. In July of
2000, Union Station reopened to passengers as an intermodal facility,
connecting inter- and intra-city bus lines, taxis, Amtrak, and Massachusetts
Bay Transit Authority's Framingham/Worcester rail lines. The Grand Hall hosts
events, retail, business offices, and a restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop [1;
1. AMTRAK Presents. "Worcester, MA (WOR)." Great American Stations. Accessed June 14, 2016. http://www.greatamericanstations.com/Stations/WOR.
2. City of Worcester. "Union Station." Worcester, MA Government. Accessed June 14, 2016. http://www.worcesterma.gov/development/initiatives-master-plans/union-station.