Monday, September 20, 2010

Union Station - Washington, D.C.

For some reason I love this card - the perspective, the sign, the columns, and mostly just the space.

The card was sent to Merton Chapin in 1923. The message reads:
 Washington, January 19, 1923
Dear Cousins.
Am spending a part of my vacation in N.Y., Phil, Baltimore and Washington and having the time of my life. I expect to be in Ohio very soon and spend a few days with my folks.  I am seeing the most wonderful things imaginable. Expect to go out to see the president tomorrow. Also intend to do the Engraving Dept. and the Treasury.  N.L.C.


  1. Yes the picture has a fantastic sense of perspective and space. Out of interest - and taking into account my lack of knowledge of American politics - which President would he/she be going to see?

  2. Thank you, Alan.
    The president at the time was Warren Harding, who incidentally wore size 14 shoes. What's more important is that Harding died that year in office (August, 1923), probably of a heart attack. Harding's wife had refused to allow an autopsy, which fueled some speculation that she had been involved in a plot to poison him.

  3. One is forced to wonder just how rustic Ohio still was in 1923.

  4. Structurally, that is one unusual roof vault- the center section appears to float, separated from the other 'masonry' sections by continuous bands of glass. I'm pretty sure they didn't actually do it this way in ancient Rome... thank you structural steel!!

  5. Christine, Chris, Youngstown's population more than quadrupled (no misprint) in the 20-some years before Merton wrote his card. Steel, manufacturing of all sorts, whole armies of immigrant labor. Cleveland had been the home of Rockefeller's Standard Oil since 1870.

    Ohio's rural areas are very pretty, its agriculture robust. Ohio's not rustic, though, not now, not when Ohio's Warren Harding was in the White House.

    Anyway, it's a great card--classical columns to the right, glass 'n' steel up top. Jack/Youngstown

  6. Lovely card! I wonder if she got to see the president!

  7. I read where in the 1970s, because of more efficient means of travel, the station wasn't used by near the amount of people as in the past and the building was in such decline that parts of the roof had started to collapse. After debate of whether to save it or demolish it, a joint public and private venture in 1981 saved it. Three cheers for restoration!!!



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