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Union Station

Famous Buildings in Washington, DC: Union Station


Modeled after buildings in ancient Rome, Union Station is lavished with elaborate sculptures, ionic columns, gold leaf, and grand marble corridors.
Union Station in Washington DC

Union Station in Washington, DC

Photo © PNC / Getty Images
Union Station
Style: Neo-classical and Beaux-Arts
Architects:Daniel Burnham, assisted by Pierce Anderson
Statues above Columns: Louis St. Gaudens

Learn About Union Station in Washington DC

In the 1800s, major railway terminals like the Euston Station in London were often constructed with a monumental arch, which suggested a grand entrance to the city. Architect Daniel Burnham modeled the arch for Union Station after the classical Arch of Constantine in Rome. Inside, he designed grand vaulted spaces that resembled the ancient Roman Baths of Diocletian.

Near the entrance, a row of six massive statues stand above a row of ionic columns. Titled "The Progress of Railroading," the statues are mythical gods chosen to represent inspirational themes related to the railway.

  • Prometheus, representing Fire
  • Thales, representing Electricity
  • Themis, representing Freedom and Justice
  • Apollo, representing Imagination and Inspiration
  • Ceres, representing Agriculture
  • Archimedes, representing Mechanics
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