The last of the great urban rail terminals to be built, Los Angeles Union Station is celebrating its 75th anniversary this years. It's not the largest of big city terminals; the age of the automobile was well under way, and the aviation age was well-established by the time it was built in 1939, but it is certainly a spectacular one, blending Mission Revival with Art Deco.
Originally proposed as part of a 1926 choice (spend the money on a new consolidated station for long-distance trains or spend it on a vast system of elevated local railroads), it took a long time to get started. In fact, if the previous terminal hadn't been damaged by an earthquake in 1933, it might never have been built.
Even though it may have been on the way out just as it was on the way in, it has survived as an important fixture by becoming the center not only for long-distance trains but also for several commuter lines and Los Angeles' growing Metro system. In fact, it handles more passengers today than it ever did in its heyday. A major bus terminal, both for long-distance and local service is attached to it.
Although it has had periods of decline and revival, it is now well-maintained, and has kept much of its original look; even most of the concession stands maintain the Art Deco richness and detail. The station became a local historic landmark in 1972.
Aside from a number of fast-food options, there's a bit of elegant dining on offer. The sign, by the way, marks the space that was occupied by the last of the rail station-based Harvey House restaurants to be opened.
The original ticket hall, under redevelopment, likely for retail
Many destinations, distant and regional, on Arrivals board, and the long tunnel that provides access to the 14 tracks and to the bus and transit terminal beyond.