A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Cincinnati’s historic Union Terminal completely restored to its iconic grandeur — take a look

Crews just recently completed the first full structural restoration in Union Terminal’s history.

The National Historic Landmark that originally opened in 1933 is being preserved for future generations, building on a legacy of memories made and moments shared.

With water once again cascading over the scalloped tiers of the fountain and the iconic clock reassembled and once again keeping time, the Art Deco masterpiece again resembles the temple to transportation its first visitors encountered 85 years ago.

Here’s a look at how crews have worked to finish this monumental community undertaking.

Work completed this month:

1. With the fountain now fully operational, crews are completing work on the plaza. Restored glass and aluminum light fixtures have been reinstalled atop the limestone candlestick lights at the top of the plaza and fresh sod and landscaping add a touch of greenery to the area.

2. The final steps of the restoration of the historic Scripps Howard Newsreel Theater is the installation of over 100 original seats and the addition of faux leather covering on the walls, matching the original aesthetic of the theater.

3. The cleaning and repair of ceiling murals in the Losantiville Dining Room is wrapping up this month. Art conservators have used diluted acetone to carefully remove decades of smoke, soot, and grime. Additionally, 22 historic canvas murals that once lined the upper walls of the dining room are returning after a more than 30-year absence. The artwork by Pierre Bourdelle was restored in New York and will be reinstalled at the end of this month.

4. Updated mechanical systems are now all online. Three new glycol chillers, five hot water boilers, and two steam boilers are all operational, conditioning over 500,000 square feet across the building. The ice storage system, which uses ice made during the evening to cool the building during the day, is also in operation, cooling the building during the lingering heat of early fall.

5. In the rear of the building, the primary face brick is now going up on the west wall and will be complete by the end of the month. The face brick is the final step in the process to rebuild the wall that was originally constructed in 1972 to patch the hole when 400 feet of the original concourse was demolished. The new west wall is more structurally sound, with a concrete block backup wall with steel rods woven throughout that are tied to the original steel beams of the building.

Number to Know: 4,608 – As one of the final steps in the restoration of Union Terminal, over 4,600 flowers and bushes have been planted across Union Terminal’s plaza. 

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