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Celebration marks 100th year for Tampa's historic train station

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 05:28 AM
TAMPA -

Union Station, a hub for rail transit that helped shaped this city, is holding a 100th anniversary celebration Saturday.

The free event, which also recognizes National Train Day, runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes live music, exhibits and Amtrak equipment on display.

Union Station, a two-story, Italian Renaissance revival-style building at 601 N. Nebraska Ave., opened May 15, 1912.

The station brought citrus, tobacco and northern speculators to Tampa.

Among celebrities who have come through the station: baseball star Mickey Mantle and actress Lupe Velez.

Union Station, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, served passengers through segregation, wars and the Great Depression. But it deteriorated through the years and closed to the public in 1984.

"For the next 14 years, Amtrak passengers arriving and departing from Tampa had to use a temporary 'make do' ticket office and waiting room in a prefabricated building located adjacent to the station platforms," according to the website of Friends of Tampa Union Station, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving the station's legacy.

Ultimately city and local historic preservationists got involved in renovating the station. It underwent a multimillion-dollar facelift and reopened in 1998.

"As a Tampa native, it's a real point of pride that folks took this hulk of a building and got it restored and preserved," said Jackson McQuigg, head of Friends of Tampa Union Station.

Now owned by the city, the station serves more than 140,000 Amtrak passengers each year, according to the nonprofit group.

Many cities have lost their historic train stations. But Union Station remains and is an important Tampa building, McQuigg said.

Steve Sayles, vice president of Friends of Tampa Union Station, said the station is beautiful.

"It's endured a lot of history, and so many people have come in and out of it over the years," he said.

Visit www.tampaunionstation.com for more information about the celebration.

 

 

IF YOU GO

What: 100th anniversary celebration for Union Station

Where: Nebraska Avenue, between Twiggs Street and Nuccio Parkway

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

Cost: Free

Information: Go to www.tampaunionstation.com


Information from Tribune archives was used in this report. jpoltilove@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7691

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