This beautiful Union Pacific Passenger Station first opened its doors on Jan. 27th, 1927.
Since then it has seen its share of history including our countrys' railroad heyday in which thousands of people traveled across country by train, many passing through this very station. The last passenger train left the Great Overland Station on May 2, 1971. The railroad used the station for its offices after that and then it was abandoned in 1988. The station was badly damaged by a fire in 1992 and was almost demolished. In 1998 the Union Pacific Corp. donated the building to Topeka Railroad Days Inc. and work started by a local preservation group to restore the Great Overland Station to its original beauty. In June 2004 it opened its doors once again and it is just beautiful.
The grand waiting room has 34 high ceilings with 120 bulb chandeliers. The building now houses the Topeka history and railroad heritage museum. The museum includes many items used throughout the history of the railroad. There are also photos of how the building looked after it was damaged by the fire and what it looked like just before the preservation work started. Also of interest is the collection of Harvey House memorabilia which was famous for its Harvey Girls. They also have a room for traveling exhibits. When I was there in August there was a big "Wizard Of Oz" exhibit on display.
Outside of the station, there is a memorial called "The All Veterans Memorial" which has the corridor of fifty state flags. This memorial honors ALL of our armed forces and veterans. It is also quite impressive.
Even though this station is no longer used by the railroad, there are over 125 trains that pass by daily. We were absolutely amazed. We were there for about an hour and there must have been a freight train going by every 7 minutes. I loved this station for 2 reasons. The first is its beauty and the history of days long gone. The second is the trains. Coming from the part of the country (Massachusetts) that doesn't see any freight trains EVER, I realized how vital the railroad still is to transportation our countrys' goods. In the short time we were there, we saw 100 car freight trains carrying everything from coal, to automobiles, to shipping containers.
The admission is $4.00 and the volunteers that were there were wonderful. They offered to show us around and give us the history of the station. I highly recommend visiting the Great Overland Station.
I usually include photos with my reviews, but my memory card was bad and all of my photos were ruined. If you go on the website they have quite a few photos that you can see.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.