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Union Station Arch in the Arena District

The only remaining vestage of Union Station #3 now stands in the Nationwide Arena District.

Union Station

You may have seen the famous arch in the arena district and probably thought it was some relic of a building that was once located there. Well, it is a relic from the past, but it wasn't always located there. In fact, the Union Station Arch was located on North High Street right about where the Columbus Convention Center and the Hyatt Regency are today.

The property was deemed too valuable and the restoration work too expensive, the Union Station was torn down to make room for the new buildings— all that is except for the arch which was dismantled into pieces and stored for a number of years until the Arena District was completed. (Read more about how the Union Station Arch was saved from the wrecking ball just minutes before it was demolished.)

Union Station #1

Union Station looking south

Painting of Union Station looking south

Union Station was Columbus' major train station and was the last of 3 train stations that occupied that area up until 1976.

First Columbus Train Depot

First Union Station at the corner of North High and Naughten Street (then called North Public Lane). This photo was taken looking northeast and High Street is in the lower left hand corner. Today, the Hyatt Regency Hotel sits about on the same spot and at the same angle as the first Union Station.

The first train depot was built around 1850 (pictured above) was constructed at an angle to North High Street. Within a few years, problems arose with the close proximity to High Street. In 1850 this area was just outside of the Columbus city limits. By 1864 at least 4 railroads crossed High Street and as trains were being made up, arriving or departing they would block High Street for long periods of time. This angered many of the cities citizens living on the growing North Side just as much as it aggravates us today when we have to wait for a train to pass. It was at this station that Abraham Lincoln's funeral train stopped and his casket was taken south to the Ohio Statehouse to lie in state.

Lincoln Funeral Train

Lincoln Funeral Train Engine at Cleveland before coming
south to Columbus.

Lincoln's Funeral Car

Lincoln's Funeral Car at Union Station on April 29, 1865 with guards protecting the car.
Read more about Lincoln's Funeral procession and the events at the Ohio Capitol building.

Downtown TrainsIn 1868 the Union Depot Company of Columbus was incorporated with its purpose to study if a new station could be erected that would better service the city and its residents. This project took almost 7 years to complete. That station would become Union Station #2 and it would last until 1897 when the third, and final Union Station would be built which lasted until the wrecking ball demolished it in 1976 except for a single arch which now stands across from Nationwide Arena.

Today, all of the Union Stations are all but a memory, except for the Union Station Arch. The trains and track have been greatly reduced from their former dominance in the city, but they are still there, just below street level throughout the downtown area. The long freight trains no longer tie up traffic across High Street. In fact, you really have to look to find the trains.