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Crowne Plaza Entrance by Carriage

Crowne Plaza at the Union Train Station

123 West Louisiana Street

Indianapolis, Indiana 46225

Written by Julie Greiner
Built in 1888 as America's first "union station". In 1853, four railroad companies, that had before served passengers with individual terminals opened the first "union" station ever built. The Indianapolis Union Station had five tracks running through a brick and frame building that offered passengers the convenience of a central transportation facility. Union Station's majestic red-brick and granite "headhouse," recognized
as one of the finest Romanesque Revival-styled structures in America, replaced that original building in 1888. Built at a cost of one million dollars, its Grand Hall is one of the finest public spaces in the city.

Turn of the Century Railroading Was King

Some 500,000 passengers traveled through Union Station monthly. There were Crowne Plaza Indoor Pool so many trains, almost 200 streamed through daily-that downtown streets were always clogged with traffic. To overcome that problem, as well as the inconvenience to passengers who crossed any number of 12 tracks to board, the Union Railway Company planned a system of elevated
Crowne Plaza Indoor Pool
tracks in a new two-story train shed.

Famous Travelers and Thomas Edison

The advent of the automobile marked the end of six decades that saw Union Station developed from a small wood and brick framed building with five tracks into one of the busiest passenger transfer points in America. Thomas Edison had worked there in 1861 as a telegraph operator; he was fired for continually devoting time to "useless" experiments. Abraham Lincoln traveled through Union Station in 1861 after being elected President.

The End of an Era

Railroad service at Union Station dwindled steadily until 1970, when the Crowne Plaza Guest Room structure had become a darkened ghost of
its prosperous past. It was threatened with demolition after Amtrak facilities were moved into the concourse area, but a local architect formed the "Committee to Save Union Station" and helped promote an adaptive-use project. In 1982 plans for a "festival marketplace" attraction were approved by the City and the restoration was begun. Union Station again is a focus of downtown activity, just as it was when railroading was king.

Ghost People

Twenty-eight "Ghost People" linger at The Grand Hall and Conference Center at Crowne Plaza Hotel Union Station. Dressed in authentic period clothing, carrying real items from
Crowne Plaza Guest Room
their times, each have a special story. Made of white fiberglass, they were created by Indianapolis native Gary Rittenhouse, from an idea of developers Bob and Sandra Borns, who were fascinated by the history of thousands of people beginning and ending their travels in Union Station. Today the facility boats of over 44,000Crowne Plaza Guest Room square feet of function space and 275 guest rooms to include 26 authentic Pullman train car rooms decorated to represent prominent personalities.

Crowne Plaza

When the restoration of Union Station began in 1983, the old train shed became the home of the new Crowne Plaza at Union Station. In keeping with this theme, the hotel renovated thirteen 1920's Pullman cars and converted them into hotel suites. The cars contain 2 Crowne Plaza Grand Hall rooms,
Crowne Plaza Grand Hall
each with either a king-size bed or two double beds. The cars are named after prominent personalities of the early 1900's, including Charlie Chaplin, Louis Armstrong, Jon Philip Sousa, Benjamin Harrison, Winston Churchill, Greta Garbo, P.T. Barnum, Cole Porter, Diamond Jim Brady, Amelia Earhart, Rudolph Valentino, Lillian Russell and Jean Harlow. They are furnished with a unique blend of traditional and contemporary decor, with wall hangings and specific antique furnishings depicting the lives of these famous individuals. For a tour through one of these cars, see the Concierge.

Restoration of Union Station

Situated in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, the Grand Hall and Conference
Crowne Plaza Ghost People
Center at Crowne Plaza Hotel Union Station is located adjacent to the Indiana Convention Center, RCA Dome and Circle Centre Mall. The State Capitol Building and Government Center, downtown business district, Conseco Fieldhouse, Victory Field and night life are only steps away. Easy highway access makes the facility convenient to all major attractions including the Children's Museum, the Indianapolis Zoo and the Indianapolis Hall of Fame Museum.

Indianapolis Crowne Plaza Union Station Location

The magnificent and enduring Union Station is again reborn, even more vibrant and elegant than before. Now a premiere banquet and conference c enter, the Grand Hall and Conference Center at Crowne Plaza Hotel Union Station boasts over 44,000 square feet of historic and beautiful function space. Complete catering, audiovisual and business services are available for 30 meeting rooms, accommodating groups of 10 to 700.

America's First Union Station Triumphs

The palatial Grand Hall is still a landmark facility, marked by its distinctive centerpiece, two identical 20-foot diameter, hand crafted leaded stained glass wheel windows. Romanesque arches, Revival-style columns and spacious corridors filled with the largest collection of antique Rookwood tile in existence today, are a feast for the eyes. A reverence for beauty and respect for historic craftsmanship offer a welcome change of environment from cookie-cutter conference spaces.

Rookwood Tile Display

The Grand Hall and Conference Center is connected to the award-winning Crowne Plaza Hotel. In the heart of downtown, the Crowne Plaza Hotel features 276 guest rooms and is best known for its 26 original Pullman sleeping cars resting on their original tracks. Tourists and business travelers alike will enjoy the romance of old-fashioned rail travel in these authentic, fully restored "rooms on the rails."
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Last Updated: September 23, 2015