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Adaptive Use / Rehabilitation
Union Station




Designed by architect Francis Bacon in 1898 for the Illinois Central Railroad, this block-long Romanesque Revival-style train station was crowned by a three-story clock tower. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, seven years after the final passenger train left the station. After more than a decade of vacancy and a failed retail development in the late 1980s, the site was purchased by the state and occupied by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency throughout the 1990s. In 2005, part of the final phase of the stateís Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum project called for the creation of a downtown visitorís center in the dilapidated railroad station. The $11.5 million rehabilitation was completed in two years using federal and state appropriations.

The former station master offices on the upper floors are now occupied by Lincoln Museum staff and other history-related organizations, while the restored first floor waiting room serves as a tourist information office. The 110-foot clock tower, which had been removed in 1946 after it was found to be sinking, was re-engineered and rebuilt to properly carry the weight. This project has received numerous industry awards for the outstanding architectural, engineering, and preservation skills that were employed in its rehabilitation.


Photos 1, 2: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency; 3: (left) WBA Architects and (right) Landmarks Illinois; 4, 5, 6: Terry Farmer Photography








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tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1971 and is the state's leading voice for historic preservation.