St. Louis Grand Central Station
Unsurprisingly, given our predilection for urban decay, some morbid humor has seeped into our lexicon. “Preabandoned” refers now to a promising site in rundown condition that is, alas, still occupied or inhabited. Vulturelike as the sentiment can be, I thought I could present a more positive alternative today: postabandoned. Sure, “renovated” or “restored” works too, but I’m working within a theme here. Anyway, St. Louis’ main rail station, built a hundred years ago in an age when every city contended to build the grandest rail palace as a show of civic pride, is a splendid example of the concept. By the seventies, time and a decline in rail travel had reduced the station to less than grand status.
The terminal has since been completely renovated. Though Amtrak still utilizes a sliver of the property, most of the building is a mall, with the canopied railyard now a parking lot. The area around the old station’s grand hall is now a hotel, with the hall itself restored to its Art Nouveau glory as the lobby/lounge. We stayed here because the price and location were right, and really, how could we not?