The Union Depot that now stands at 214 East 4th Street is actually the second Union Depot to call Lowertown it’s home. In 1879 The Saint Paul Union Depot Corporation was incorporated by the railroads then serving Saint Paul.The first Union Depot was completed in 1881. This building was destroyed by fire in 1884 and rebuilt. At its peak it served 8 million passengers and had 150 trains departing daily. Another fire in 1913 destroyed the building speeding up plans for the a new Union Depot for which planning had already begun due to a need to better serve a growing numbers of passengers traveling through Saint Paul.
The original Union Depot in Lowertown, Saint Paul. Built in 1881 and destroyed by fire in 1913.
The original Union Depot in Lowertown, Saint Paul after renovations to its roofline and construction of a higher central tower in 1900-1901. Construction of the Union Depot standing today began in 1917 but wasn’t completed until 1923 due to the construction being halted for several years by World War I. Charles Frost, who designed the Milwaukee Road and Great Northern depots in Minneapolis, was chosen as the architect.
St. Paul Union Depot circa 1924–1925. Photograph by Charles P. Gibson. This and more information can be found at Minnesota Encyclopedia, Minnesota Historical Society. “St. Paul Union Depot.” Accessed September 28, 2015. http://www.mnopedia.org/structure/st-paul-union-depot