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Union Station Complex

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1896–1898, Stone, Carpenter and Willson. 30, 36, 40, 50, 56 Exchange Terrace
  • (Photograph by Andrew Hope)
  • (Photograph by Marcbela)
  • (Photograph by Tom Bastin, CC BY 2.0)

When Thomas Tefft's famous mid-century station in the Lombard Romanesque style burned in 1896, construction of this replacement was already underway. Like many other railroad stations designed following the World's Columbian Exposition, Union Station has a Roman triumphal arch as its centerpiece entrance to the passenger station, which also provides a symbolic gateway to the city. In this instance the grand Neo-Renaissance manner is leavened by construction in yellow brick and a utilitarian aspect overall (rather like that of its predecessor), but distinguished by fine craftsmanship and proportion. The spreading complex of five buildings, once linked by arcades, was reduced to four buildings when fire destroyed the easternmost pavilion in 1940. A simulacrum was completed in 1988 as part of the complex's rehabilitation after this station's abandonment in 1986 for another ( PR8.3), required when trackage through Providence was shifted farther north. In 1987, fire also eliminated most of the original interior of the passenger terminal, which was never very sumptuous and was, in any event, scheduled for drastic alteration to accommodate new offices and shops, eventually offices only.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.


What's Nearby


William H. Jordy et al., "Union Station Complex", [Providence, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 38-39.

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