Phase one construction began in 1997 with the cleaning of Union Station inside and out. By the end, 10 million pounds of debris was removed.
Even with the new age look and feel of Science City, the goal in the renovation of Union Station was always to return it to the original glory last seen in 1914. Working top to bottom, inside and out, no detail was overlooked, including matching of colors and style.
The roof was completely replaced with tiles of the exact shape and color of the originals. The only difference was the use of a special concrete weighing less than before. Still, each roof tile weighs approximately 200 pounds.
St. Louis Antique Lighting Co., which has restored the lights and fixtures in seven state capitals, used 12 full-time employees to strip and restore all of Union Station's sconces and giant chandeliers. Each chandelier weighs 3,500 pounds, measures 12 feet in diameter, and requires more than half a mile in wiring and 11,400 watts of electricity.
Hayles & Howe, ornamental plasterers specializing in restoration of original moldings and ceilings, was brought in to rebuild the heavily damaged ceiling of Union Station. Using 22 workers, more than half the original ceiling had to be removed because of the massive amount of water damage. Then, sparing no details, crews reconstructed the damaged areas. But Union Station is not the first train station Hales & Howe has worked on. The company helped restore New York's Grand Central Station and also worked on the refurbishment of England's Windsor Castle.
Oehrlein & Associates, who worked on historical landmarks like the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Theater, was brought in to take on the difficult task of determining the exact colors of the original Union Station. They examined everything from metals, to plaster, to the walls, floors, ceilings, and roof tiles. The procedure included scraping away layers of filth one by one along with every coat of paint in order to get down to an exact match in color.