My art car friend, Greg Phelps knows a lot about funky travel. He still talks about that crane hotel in the Netherlands that he and his girlfriend stayed in earlier this year after Gadling’s suggestion. Today he sent me a travel tidbit that led me to train stations. Here is a Web page link that takes visitors around the U.S. via a combination of vintage postcards and photographs to the train stations with art deco architecture. There is an historical overview of each place, including what became of them all.
For example, Union Terminal in Cincinnati, a truly wonderful building now houses several vibrant museums, including the Museum of Natural History. Figuring out just the right use for this gem took patience. It failed as a shopping mall. My favorite part of the building is the front. Doesn’t it look like a huge 1930s radio? Inside, there are large mosaics that depict various scenes of American work life. Here’s a bit of film trivia: in the movie “Rain Man” a scene was shot here. It is after Tom Cruise picked up Dustin Hoffman from the institution and was figuring out how to take him to California. They went to Union Terminal in hopes of catching a train. You can briefly see the mosaics in the background. Amtrak does use a portion of the building, but from what I recall, the few trains that do pass through here do so at night.
Some of these art deco stations no longer exist since they have been taken down to make room for “progress.” Browsing the stations is an interesting look at how travel in the U.S. has changed.