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The Pueblo Union Depot is one of the finest railroad depot stations west of the Mississippi River.  Designed by Frank V. Newall of the Chicago firm of Sprague and Newall, it was planned to accommodate heavy traffic.  Built under the supervision of James A. McGonigle, the Richardsonian Romanesque style building was completed in

1890.

 

The Depot's interior was considered a magnificent achievement. Mosaic flooring, richly polished wainscoting, stained glass windows, and ornate 1,000 lb. wrought iron chandeliers. Hotel accommodations occ

upied the top two floors.

 

Modeled after the famous "Harvey House" chain, the restaurant employed over 30 waitresses, primarily attired in black uniforms with starched white collars and cuffs. It gained a reputation for the best food in the region - " Good, plentiful and remarkably cheap", especially for it's homemade pies and bread. A four course meal with fish or steak entree cost about $1.00.

 

When originally built, the Depot clock tower rose 150 feet skyward, with foot high numerals, and the three-foot bronze hands were clearly visible from a distance. On  June 3, 1921, however, floodwaters ravaged the area, cracked the tower, and left it structurally defective. To correct the damage, the tower was lowered 30 feet in 1929 and the west face of the clock removed.

 

During World War II, the Depot enhanced its reputation for service by its skillful routing of civilian and military passengers from as many as 40 trains a day. The golden age of passenger trains in America lasted for the 1920's to the 1950's. Service declined steadily thereafter as the use of train transportation diminished. For the Pueblo Union Depot the end of an era come on April 30, 1971 when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe No. 200-201 made its final stop.  

                                                                                             

The Pueblo Union Depot was placed of the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.                                

 

The Pueblo Union Depot was purchased in April 1990 by a group of investors who are, for the most part native Coloradoan's. The investors pooled their funds and made an offer to the FDIC. The offer was accepted and the project was under way.

 

The first order of business was to refurbish the outside of the building. That entailed massive roof repairs, refinishing the red sandstone exterior, sanding and repainting all of the various sided wood window frames, restoration of the many beautiful stained glass windows that grace the front of the building, and landscaping of the entire property.


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After ten months of long, tedious hours of work, the first tenant moved into the RPO building on the east end of the Depot. The main hall was next to being finished and ready for use. A grand opening was held in May 1991 marking the beginning of a new era for the Pueblo Union Depot. By the end of 1992, the RPO building was completely refurbished and leased, as well as a portion of the main building. Shops such as a chocolate candy store, a men's retail clothing shop, a ladies retail clothing shop, interior designer, and a specialty gift shop were opened.

 

The main hall, which was once the waiting room for railroad patrons, is now an elaborate banquet hall, which serves many purposes from wedding receptions to seminars with in house catering.

 

The next phase of construction meant completion of the second , third and fourth floors. The second floor was completed and tenants such as the State Public Defenders office, three attorneys, three Psychotherapists, and an office for the Department of the Interior were moved in by the end of July 1993. The third and fourth floors have been furnished as Manhattan style loft apartments. They feature oak window frames, open beam ceilings and original brick walls. This phase involved massive demolition and reconstruction, including an elevator to the fourth floor and fire safe stairways.

 

The next phase was completion of the west end of the main building which now houses a bakery, a barber shop, an accountant and the Union Depot main offices. Restoration and completion of the Express Building was the final phase of the project. This building at one time hosted the baggage area of the original train station. This building was pre-leased and by July  1996, tenanats had moved in.

 

The Depot is fast becoming a bustling, busy place that the people of Pueblo are proud to display to visitors. It is the center attraction of the Historic Union Avenue area and has encouraged others to invest in the renovation of surrounding buildings.    

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