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DC Trip - Union Station

Our time in Washington DC both began and ended in Union Station.

Union Station was designed by architect Daniel Burnam, who also designed one of the first American skyscrapers (the Masonic Temple Building in Chicago), oversaw construction of the 1892 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and published the “The Plan of Chicago”, which laid out plans for the future of the city.

Looking up from the food court.

Photo taken 10/19/09.

Steph chilling in the food court.

Photo taken 10/19/09.

In the Attic block, above the main cornice of the central block, stand six colossal statues (modeled on the Dacian prisoners of the Arch of Constantine) designed by Louis St. Gaudens. These are entitled “The Progress of Railroading” and their iconography expresses the confident enthusiasm of the American Renaissance movement: Prometheus (for Fire), Thales (for Electricity), Themis (for Freedom and Justice), Apollo (for Imagination and Inspiration), Ceres (for Agriculture) and Archimedes (for Mechanics).

Photo taken 10/19/09.

The substitution of Agriculture for Commerce in a railroad station iconography vividly conveys the power of a specifically American lobbying bloc.

Photo taken 10/19/09.

St. Gaudens also created the 26 centurions for the station's main hall.

Photo taken 10/23/09.

According to our tour guide, Melvin, the centurions were originally designed without the shields. The anatomical correctness of the nude centurions drew objections and the shields were added.

Photo taken 10/23/09.

Photo taken 10/23/09.

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