Union Station

848 was a big year for Chicago. The Illinois and Michigan Canal finally connected the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The first telegraph message was received (from Milwaukee). Far-sighted merchants founded the Chicago Board of Trade. And, the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad opened. All of these developments fueled the growth of the city. The impact of all of these was profound, but the railroad’s influence on the wealth and population of Chicago was immediate and far-reaching. Even though the city had been steadily growing in the eleven years since its incorporation, the explosion that happened with the advent of railroads soon made it the fastest growing city in the world. Trains made it easier and faster for people to travel, and travel they did. To some, lured by the promise of land with the acquisition of the Oregon Territory or the gold fields of California, Chicago was a stopping point on the way to somewhere else. Thousands, however, stayed. Between 1848 and 1858, the city’s population increased from around 20,000 to 90,000. By 1871, more than 300,000 lived in Chicago.  In the years after the Great Chicago Fire, the population grew to more than half a million people, and the city’s recovery was due in large part to trains.

By 1908, nearly two and a half million people lived in a city that was incorporated a mere seventy-one years before.

Read more about this landmark in Living Landmarks of Chicago.

Completed: 1925
Architects: Graham, Anderson, Probst & White
Address: 225 S. Canal St.

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Sources for Union Station

This is a selection of specific sources used to provide details while researching this landmark. Additional sources, including books and websites, can be found on the Resources page.

  • Chicago Landmark Designation Report
  • ChicagoUnionStation.com
  • Chicago Union Station. American-Rails.com
  • Chicago Union Station Master Plan Study. Prepared for Chicago Department of Transportation, May 2012.
  • Commercial Club of Chicago, Charles Moore, Edward H. (Edward Herbert) Bennett, and Daniel Hudson Burnham. Plan of Chicago: Prepared Under the Direction of the Commercial Club During the Years MCMVI, MCMVII, And MCMVIII. Chicago: Commercial Club, 1909.
  • GreatAmericanStations.com
  • Marshall Field & Company. The Chicago Plan, a Brief Review of Its Development, Projects And Accomplishments. Chicago: M. Field & Co., 1922.
  • The New Chicago. Chicago: C.C. Mitchell & Co., 1920.
  • Wacker, Charles Henry, 1856-1929, and Chicago Plan Commission. An Appeal to Business Men … Business And the Chicago Plan. Chicago, IL: Chicago Plan Commission, 1921.