The second great Kansas City flood consumes the railroad station in the city's West Bottoms district. Rail executives decide to build a new train station on higher ground and in a more central location.
Twelve railroad companies unite to form the Kansas City Terminal Railroad (KCTR). Chicago architect Jarvis Hunt is selected to design the new station.
Construction begins on the massive building. Union Station is designed in the beaux-arts architectural style popular in the United States and France in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
October 30, 1914
Union Station opens to the public. Just after midnight on the morning of Nov. 1, the first train, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Flyer, arrives at Union Station. The station cost nearly $6 million and was part of a $50 million investment by KCTR that also included track additions, switching towers, viaducts and bridges.
Rail traffic peaks during WWI-with 79,368 trains passing through the Station, including 271 trains in one day.
All five World War I allied commanders arrive by train at Union Station and meet together for groundbreaking ceremonies for the Liberty Memorial. Located across the street from Union Station, the Liberty Memorial is a monument dedicated to the men and women who served and died in World War I. The memorial was dedicated in 1926.
June 17, 1933
One of the most infamous dates in Kansas City history is the Union Station Massacre. Convicted mobster Frank Nash, under escort by a team of FBI agents and police officers was shot and killed outside the Station during a shootout. Four law enforcement officers were also killed. There are marks on the front of the building that for years were claimed as bullet holes from the shooting, but tests by Kansas City, Mo. police recently showed the marks could not have come from bullets.
However, the myth and the mystery of the incident live on. There were various theories that other mobsters had committed the crime, but the only man ever charged was Adam Richetti who died in Missouri's gas chamber. As result of the massacre, Congress strengthened the power of the FBI.
Passenger traffic hits a record 678,363 travelers with a significant number of America's armed forces personnel passing through Union Station on their way home from World War II.
Passenger rail traffic starts to decline as the airline industry grows.
The Fred Harvey Company operations-including the Westport Room restaurant and retail shops close.
Union Station receives federal designation as a protected structure and is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Passenger traffic drops to only 32,842 for the year. Only six trains a day pass through the Station.
Kansas City approves a development contract with Trizec, a Canadian redevelopment firm, to develop the Station and surrounding property.
Trizec constructs two office buildings, One and Two Pershing Square, on the property around the Station but is unable to make improvements to the building.
The Station closes except for Amtrak's inflatable bubble inside the Grand Hall and the Lobster Pot restaurant. Amtrak leaves in 1985 and the Lobster Pot closes in 1989.
The city of Kansas City, Mo. initiates legal action against the redevelopment company for failing to redevelop the Station.
The City and Trizec agree to settle their six-year lawsuit. A new not-for-profit corporation, Union Station Assistance Corporation (USAC), is established to own the Station.
Voters in Jackson, Clay and Platte counties in Missouri and Johnson County in Kansas approve a one-eighth of a cent bi-state sales tax to restore and redevelop Union Station and create a science museum. The tax raised $118 million toward the total $250 million project. The remaining money was raised through private donations and federal funds. The passage of the bi-state tax is thought to be the first of its kind in the history of the United States.
November 10, 1999
Union Station opens to the public once again. The building, restored to its former glory, now includes shops, restaurants, theaters and Science City, an interactive science center.
Amtrak train service returns to Union Station. More »
The KC Rail Experience, a permanent exhibit celebrating both the history of the railroads and Union Station, opens. More »