Pennsy style signal

blogDSCN8506It was like a step back in time.

On the quest for wedding reception venues, oldest daughter, her fiancé, and dear ol’ Dad and I visited some spots in the city a couple of weeks ago.

Daughter moved to the city her first year out of college when she landed a job there and a great apartment with one of her best friends.  That same job took her away to a Southern city for a few years, but last fall she found a new job back in the metropolis that she loves so much.

So naturally, upon getting recently engaged, her thoughts turned to holding her dream wedding day in a spot in her beloved city.    She researched,  surfed the net for sites recommended, and made appointments for viewings.

blogDSCN8513Her dad and I drove in from our country home to meet oldest daughter and fiancé to spend most  of a Saturday checking out possible sites.   One of those was the historic Pennsylvanian Union Train Station.

Hubby was eager to visit this place because of his love of all things railroad.  The building we visited was designed and constructed in the early 1900’s as a train terminal and office building for the Pennsylvania Railroad, which happens to be the railroad my father-in-law worked for and a source of great interest for my husband.

Back in that era, trains were the way to travel, which is why the Union Train Station was erected.  From the limited research I read,  I found that the station building was designed by Daniel Burnham, a Chicago architect.

blogDSCN8518Renovated in 1987, the edifice now houses condominiums and office spaces, but the first floor, where the original concourse is located, can be rented out for special events such as weddings.   It’s interesting to note that Amtrak trains still depart and arrive near this spot.

The 13-story structure is simply stunning with marble floors, arched openings, and elaborate terra cotta and plaster work.  The ballroom, originally the grand concourse once crowded with passing travelers, boasts 11,000 square feet available for celebrations.    The space is covered by a 40-foot vaulted ceiling, much of which is a massive copper and iron skylight.

As we investigated this space like no other, I could see that my husband’s imagination wheels were turning.  He wanted to see every inch of the place.

I noticed him sitting in one of the gleaming, polished wooden benches and looking around, and I supposed he was imagining the concourse full of busy passengers coming and going to cities like New York, Philadelphia, or Chicago.  Supposedly, nearly 10,000 travelers journeyed through that area every day back in the station’s heyday.

blogDSCN8525But my favorite spot was the magnificent entry rotunda, designed by draftsman Peter Joseph Weber and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Neoclassical style domed structure features corner pavilions and allowed for turning spaces for horse-drawn carriages.  This spectacular construction begs to be photographed and I couldn’t stop taking pictures there.

The Pennsylvanian, as this majestic structure is now named, proved enthralling.   No doubt it would be a magnificent and photogenic spot for a wedding reception, but it wasn’t the place for our daughter’s wedding reception.  In railroad terms, “Pennsy style” is a type of railroad signal developed by the Pennsylvania Railroad.  So for us, the signal we received was no go.

Just getting to view the inside of this stately and historic landmark though in my book called Opportunity was a treat we all enjoyed and time spent together exploring added to the joy.

And so the quest for a spot to celebrate wedding bliss continued.  But that I’ll save for another day’s  post because for now, I must spend time with middle daughter working on her wedding decorations.

blogDSCN8521Copyright ©2012



10 responses

  1. Thank you for posting those magnificent photos. My dad worked for a couple of railroads (Burlington Northern and the Illinois Central) in the marketing division. We traveled on passenger trains numerous times…so trains and train stations have a lot of meaning for me. Oh what gorgeous photos…eager to hear where the receptions DO end up 🙂


  2. This would be gorgeous and indeed memorable. What beautiful photos.
    We had to search a venue and nail down the date quickly as many places are booked a year in advance. No stress…mama.
    Thank you for the update. This is indeed fun following the possibilities.


  3. Love being part of your search for the perfect wedding place, Mama. These pictures are gorgeous! I have always loved trains, especially since I grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut, and took the train into NYC quite often, my grandmother also came to visit us on the train from the City. We called her “Grandma-on-the-train” to differentiate her from our Ohio grandmother.


    • Thanks for coming along on the search! I just hope my readers don’t get tired of all the wedding talk…but weddings have taken over my life right now. 😉 It’s been fun to hear about everyone’s connections to trains. “Grandma-on-the-train” is so cute!


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