Although many visitors pass through Union Station on their way to Pittsburgh via Amtrak, few are aware of its enormous historical significance. The station —also known as Pennsylvania Station or Penn Station—was one of several passenger rail stations that Pittsburgh used during the 20th century and is the only one surviving.
The station building was designed by the famous Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, responsible for the construction of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and its historic White City. The station was built between 1898 and1904 and featured the iconic rotunda. This dome can be seen as a remnant of the building's 19th-century history when the rotunda was used as a sheltered turning space for carriages while passengers watched from above in the waiting room. The dome itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The restoration of Union Station began in 1986 and resulted in a residential building. The station continues to serve as an active railway station, however, but only via a smaller area on the Liberty Avenue side of the building.
The station is consistently recommended by visitors as a great spot to stop, admire the architecture, and take advantage of the wonderful photo opportunities.
Cover image by Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man) - Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1696357