Free Family Fest: Union Station Turns 75

Kidly activities, tours, and more mark the merry celebration.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The historic train station turns 75 on Saturday. NBC4's Conan Nolan reports that the station was originally built to handle 7,000 passengers a day but now has some 75,000 passing through its turnstiles daily. Conan Nolan reports from downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 28, 2014. (Published Monday, Apr 28, 2014)

    What train station is America's train station?

    Just about everyone might pick their hometown station, or a hub at the center of the country, but Angelenos know a rail-famous landmark that's been in oodles of television shows and films. It's elegant and historic and it has served as a celluloid station for decades, since 1939, making it, truly, America's train station.

    Yes, indeed, Union Station, we're talking to you. And we did say 1939, meaning that the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal -- its wayback name -- is turning 75, an auspicious and train-whistle-y event, for sure.

    But whistles and rails won't be the only focus of the Saturday, May 3 party, which is free. The people who love trains and the station get the spotlight, and they're pretty legion. Tours of the ticket concourse and the Fred Harvey Room are on the schedule, as are model train displays and kidly happenings.

    If you're wondering if Union Station's 75th and National Train Day, an Amtrak celebration that typically falls on the second Saturday of May, are combining into one chugga-chugga blowout, you'd be correct. Meaning that while the rest of the nation will mark National Train Day on May 10, we here in Los Angeles get to honor it a week early, and all because our Mission-Revival-meets-Streamline-Moderne station is turning 75.

    "Chugga chugga," by the by, is totally the sound a train makes, right? Totally.

    Metro is serving up a historic ceremony to commemorate the anniversary on May 3, so get to the ticket concourse by 10 a.m for some stirring words and memory-sharing.

    It's hard to summarize the importance and grandeur of a major transportation hub that has both served as a center for people meeting, greeting, and moving on through for three quarters of a century, and a cultural and cinematic legend, too.

    But summarize, and rhapsodize, fans shall, on May 3, citing all of the things they love about Union Station best. (Us? We go in for those much photographed, oh-so-sturdy gold-and-wood chairs, so stately yet comfortable.)

    Love the ol' U.S. more than a single day can hold? LA Conservancy will fete it on May 17, and the Getty is hosting an exhibit at the LA Central Library through Aug. 10. Of course, any day of the week you can say hello, to the wonder of elegant wonder of 800 N. Alameda, and you don't even to catch a train to do so.

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