This system (Big Four) connects at the Central Union station in Cincinnati with the trains of the Chesapeake & Ohio; Queen and Crescent; Baltimore & Ohio Southwestern; Louisville & Nashville; and Kentucky Central railways for all the principal points in the East, Southeast and South. The total length of all lines owned, leased and operated in the "Big Four" system amounts to 2,336.11 miles.
The board of directors is composed of Cornelius Vanderbilt, William K. Vanderbilt, Chauncey M. Depew, J. Pierpont Morgan, George Bliss, H. McK. Twombly and James B. Layng, of New York; S. J. Broadwell, Alexander McDonald, Melville E. Ingalls and William P. Anderson, of Cincinnati; Amos Townsend and James Barnett, of Cleveland; Benjamin S. Brown, of Columbus, George A. Farlow, of Boston.
|1887 Sanborn Map - Source|
"on a grander scale than its down East (Boston) competitor... The style of the great edifices, which is to cost within a trifle of half a million, is a happy combination of Queen Ann and Eastlake. There is to be hardwood and tile interior finish and a fireproof mansard roof." (Cincinnati Times Star, 3/20/1933).
|1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source|
|1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source|
Even flooding cause the Central Union Station to close earlier than expected. Plans were made for ceremonies to open Union Terminal on March 31 and April 2, 1933 but the river flooded and trains were sent to the new depot on March 19th. On August 31, 1933, demolition of the 50-year-old Central Union began and the reported reason was to escape paying taxes on the vacant building, which was still owned by the Big Four Railroad. The first two weeks were spent removing the interior of "fine and valuable wood furnishings", taken by the wrecking contractor and the brick and stone exterior was being reused by the Big Four in other road construction work (The Cincinnati Post, 9/27/1933). Plans were made in 1934 to use the location as a freight yard for perishable goods.
|Cincinnati Riverfront 1949, Click to view larger - Source|
So what about the remains? Comments made to my preservation friend's photo indicate that a small portion remained at Third and Central. Coincidentally, a blog fan, Dave, sent me an email to inquire about a brick and stone wall in the parking lot at this same corner. He took some great pictures for me and also outlined on this old postcard of what now remains of the old Central Union Station.
|Outline by Dave, Photo Source|
|Just a small portion of the original Central Union Station remains at the corner of Third and Central|
|Parking lot view shows the windows which allowed light to the lower level of the building. You can also see where the floor beams attached.|
|Close-up of what was once the right side of the doorway into the station on Third Street|
|Approximately the same view from the original photo|