The Buildings That Linked the Nation: New Book on Railroad Stations

Gateway, Union Depot, Denver

Gateway, Union Depot, Denver, (cropped). Photograph copyrighted by A.C. Roebuck, 1908. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c07800

In Railroad Stations: The Buildings That Linked the Nation, David Naylor chronicles the history and stylistic character of one of our nation’s most iconic building types. Prolifically illustrated with images from the collections of the Prints & Photographs Division, the volume is organized by geographic region. In addition to showing the exteriors of many stations, the pictures highlight waiting rooms, concourses and architectural details in a wide array of stations across the U.S. The book represents a valuable addition to the Norton/Library of Congress series of Visual Sourcebooks in Architecture, Design & Engineering.

In the Waiting Room of the Union Station, Chicago, Illinois. Photograph by Jack Delano.

In the Waiting Room of the Union Station, Chicago, Illinois. Photograph by Jack Delano, January 1943. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/fsa.8d24901

In an interview on the Architects + Artisans Web site Naylor describes the scope of his book: “It’s part architecture, part culture and part history. It’s about the role that the buildings played in the Civil War, in settling the West and in establishing the National Park system – if it weren’t for the railroads, we wouldn’t have our National Parks.”

The railroad station was more than a simple arrival and departure point between America’s cities and towns; it was the cultural hub in the cities and towns. Naylor continues: “You couldn’t have a town without a railroad station, because it provided the clock tower, the telegraph and the mail,” he said. “If it went away, the town suffered.”

Learn More:

The Library of Congress established the Center for Architecture, Design, and Engineering to focus attention on, encourage support for, and promote the study of the Library’s unmatched architecture, design, and engineering collections.

Sample some images of railroad stations in Pictorial Americana: Selected Images from the Collections of the Library of Congress, and then immerse yourself in several thousand more images associated with railroad stations in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.

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