By Grant Stevens
The top of the main hall | Fun Fact: Saint Gaudens designed these statues without shields. The railroad owners felt that the bare-legged statues might offend the ladies. As a way to get back at the resistance, the sculptor decided to give the statues a little extra. There are some interesting surprises behind some of these shields. -- @brilliantartistry, Jarrett Hendrix
While waiting in the Washington, D.C., Union Station Main Hall, many visitors look up to admire the beautiful barrel-vaulted ceilings currently undergoing restoration or the statues of Roman legionnaires that look down from stories above. Rarely, however, do you see people looking back at you.
Saturday, May 31 was an exception. In partnership with the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC), the National Trust led four behind-the-scenes tours of Union Station, taking photographers and Instagrammers to spaces rarely open to the public.
We've compiled some of our favorite photos from the day, as well as information about each of the stops. You can find more photos on Instagram or Twitter by searching #unionstationtour. Be sure to follow @SavingPlaces too!
The first stop on the tour was originally a walkway that connects the two upper-story office portions of Union Station, and it would eventually go on to be a bar and restaurant space. It's currently an unused space with no plans for development, but provides beautiful views of the Main Hall and Capitol.
#vsocam #unionstationtour #savingplaces -- @ordinarydope
Built in 1908, Union Station was designed with a special entrance for the U.S. President and other visiting dignitaries -- the Presidential Entrance. During renovations in the 1980s, the area was converted into a restaurant, which closed in 2013. Currently searching for a new tenant, the space still provides stunning interiors.
Looking Up | Presidential Suite Chandelier | See more Pics From Our @savingplaces #unionstationtour -- @dccitygirl
Need some bourbon and a cigar. #unionstationtour #savingplaces -- @arizmatute, Ariz Matute
Though Amtrak, MARC, and VRE now serve Union Station's passenger rail needs, luxury Pullman Cars once operated from the station too. Norfolk Southern now owns one of the most famous Pullman Cars, the Marco Polo, which was used by President Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1933 to 1940. The Marco Polo was restored in 1989 and is now permanently assigned to Track No. 7 at Union Station, but is rarely open to the public.
This Pullman train car, named Marco Polo, served as FDR's private residence during his "Whistle Stop Tour" in the early 1940s. -- @jonesndc, Be Jones
1926 Pullman car, the West Virginia, with a reflection of a modern train in the polished side. #igdc #igersdc #instantdc #washingtondc #dc #igersdcmetro #explroedmv #savingplaces #unionstationtour -- @vpickering, Victoria Pickering
The final stop on the tour elicited the most WOWs when participants climbed down a ladder to access a walkway between a row of legionnaires and the clock above the entrance to the East Hall. Participants were above the netting covering the majority of the Main Hall, which provided some fascinating photographs.
#BTS :: #unionstationtour + #savingplaces // Yesterday, I had the great opportunity of touring previously restricted areas of Union Station thanks to @savingplaces. Be sure to check out the two above hashtags to see other pictures from the tours. -- @capturethecapital, Mark Thomas
#washingtondc #unionstation #unionstationtour #savingplaces #igdc #dcarchitecture #royalsnappingartists #nthp --@rehardy, Robert Earl Hardy
You can learn more about our work at Union Station, part of our National Treasures program, here. For more information about future behind-the-scenes tours (including those in Philadelphia as part of CityLove), stay tuned to @SavingPlaces!