DIAMONDS ARE A RAIL FAN’S BEST FRIEND.
Built in 1902, the Marion Union Station is adorned with marble walls, mosaic tile floors in laid in a beautiful pattern, oak woodwork, an incredible stained glass skylight, and lustrous brass plating throughout its spacious lobby. With the station surrounded by six mainline tracks, creating eight “diamonds,” passenger and freight trains alike made frequent stops in Marion along their way through the Midwest.
Serving as one of the more popular modes of transportation in the early 1900’s, the Marion Union Station had its fair share of visitors. From seeing a show at the Palace Theatre to attending one of Harding’s front porch campaigns, people made sure to stop at the largest and most frequent stop between New York and Chicago. In late 1923, the Marion Union Station was the last rail stop on President Harding’s funeral procession before being laid to rest. The station was also used as a canteenstop for troops during World War II before passenger service ceased in 1971.
Since the days of passenger locomotives, the station currently serves as a museum for the Marion Union Station Association and still draws hundreds of visitors–also known as rail fans–each year. On a daily basis you can easily count upwards of 60 trains passing through the intersection of the biggest Ohio railroads while standing just yards away on the station’s brick sidewalks.
Along with restorations made on the Union Station’s interior, you’ll find a collection of interlocking and switch panels, as well as functioning status lights and signals formerly used at surrounding stations and towers in Ohio. Museums exist to give visitors a sense of how it once was during a given era that is no more. But this is the beauty of a museum. We can create visual representations of what it looked like and what it must have felt like to have been standing at the elbow of the operator or ticket taker as he watched a train pass by.
Open during limited hours, the museum can be admired from within on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Also open during special events and shows such as Summerail, Everett’s Train Show & Swap Meet, and the Toy and Train Show, the museum charges no admission although donations are always welcome for continued maintenance of this beautiful piece of Marion’s history.
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