Long-Neglected Women’s Lounge in Union Station Reopens after Full Restoration

After suffering from decades of neglect, extensive water damage and the wear and tear of being used as a storage warehouse, the restoration of the Woman’s Lounge located off the northwest corner of the Great Hall is now complete. The ornate Beaux-Arts coffered plaster ceiling, marble columns, and elaborate murals have been painstakingly restored under direction from Chicago-based architecture firm Goettsch Partners. Incredibly, the original chandeliers were discovered in wooden crates in the station’s basement and reinstalled.

Preservation Chicago has been a strong advocate for the preservation and renovation of the many historic elements of Union Station and has been actively involved in all stages of renovation. Preservation Chicago serves as part of the Section 106 team and has provided frequent testimonies to help inform the restoration effort.

The Men’s Lounge, old Barbershop and main staircases (including the travertine staircase featured in the legendary “The Untouchables” baby-carriage shoot out scene) were beautifully restored earlier this year and have been reopened as glorious public spaces.

Preservation Chicago continues to advocate for the restoration of remaining historic elements which include the grand skylight, any remaining historic features within the offices floors, and the rebuilding of the dramatic two-story Fred Harvey Restaurant, which suffered fire damage and was closed 35 years ago.

Fellow preservation organization, Landmarks Illinois is hosting an event to celebrate the reopening of the Burlington Room this evening, November 30 at 6:00. Event info here.

Suggested Reading

The hidden Union Station: Take a tour, Greg Hinz, Crain’s Chicago Business, 11/11/15 GREAT PHOTOS

A look inside Chicago Union Station’s beautifully restored Burlington Room, Curbed Chicago, 11/28/16 GREAT PHOTOS

Behind the Black Curtain: Union Station’s Elegant and Forgotten Dining Hall, ArchitectureChicagoPlus, 7/12/13

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