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Louisville & Nashville Railroad, Union Station Train Shed, Water Street, opposite Lee Street, Montgomery, Montgomery County, AL



See 18 maps of this location


B&W Photos

HB32740

HB32741

HB32742

HB32743

HB32744

HB32745


Data Pages


Photo Caption Pages


Item Title
Louisville & Nashville Railroad, Union Station Train Shed, Water Street, opposite Lee Street, Montgomery, Montgomery County, AL

Location
opposite Lee Street, Montgomery, AL

Find maps of Montgomery, AL


Created/Published
Documentation compiled after 1968.

Notes
Survey number HAER AL-1
Unprocessed field note material exists for this structure (FN-4).
Building/structure dates: 1898 initial construction
National Register Number: 73000368
Significance: The Union Station Trainshed in Montgomery, Alabama is a rare survival of a once common building type. It was the outgrowth of a desire by railroad companies to improve passenger comfort, which then became a matter of engineering pride. Prior to the construction of Union Station, in 1897-8, Montgomery had been served by a small, two-story, frame structure constructed in 1860. Forty-four passenger trains were stopping in the city daily by 1894. The new station was planned to accommodate this growing load. While the volume of passengers was not as heavy as on major northern rail lines, it had become a point of public pride to upgrade station facilities. Most of the larger stations along the L&N mainlines, starting with the flagship station in Louisville, KY, were replaced with architecturally distinguished stations, including trainsheds, during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Although constructed in 1897-8, the structure of the Montgomery trainshed is of an earlier type. The gable roof form is more similar to sheds constructed in the 1870's. The competition between companies for national prestige led to vying for the longest span trainshed. New engineering techniques had resulted in arched balloon sheds in the 1890's, largely replacing gable construction. The main reason for the use of an older construction method at Montgomery is that the Montgomery shed crosses only four sets of track. A larger shed would have been useless for the volume of traffic at the station. Also, as at the Louisville trainshed, it is possible that some salvage parts from iron bridges were used in the Montgomery structure. This is undocumented, but the use of the Phoenix column and of metal eyebars as tension members is typical of iron bridge construction from 1868 to 1885. ... The Union Station was designed by Benjamin Bosworth Smith, a Montgomery architect. The trainshed was produced out of the office of Robert Montfort, Chief Engineer of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. The Montgomery trainshed was built as this style of terminal design was already in decline. The corrosion of the steel and iron structural members by the enclosed locomotive gasses caused rapid deterioration of these large structures. Leakage was a problem, as was the danger of injury from falling glass. Shortly after the turn of the century, umbrella platforms between tracks had largely replaced trainsheds for passenger accommodation.

Subjects
Railroad Stations
Railroad Companies
Engineering


Related Names
Smith , Benjamin Bosworth
Montfort , Robert
Louisville & Nashville Railroad
Boucher, Jack, Photographer
Zembala, Dennis M., Historian
Delony, Eric, Historian
Floyd, W. Warner, Historian


Collection
Historic American Engineering Record (Library of Congress)

Contents
Photograph caption(s): 
1. 3/4 VIEW LOOKING NORTHEAST
2. VIEW LOOKING EAST, ELEVATION
3. 3/4 VIEW LOOKING SOUTHEAST, TRAINSHED WITH STATION BEHIND
4. 3/4 VIEW OF TRAINSHED LOOKING SOUTHEAST
5. VIEW LOOKING EAST, DETAIL ELEVATION
6. 3/4 VIEW LOOKING NORTHWEST
7. VIEW LOOKING WEST, DETAIL ELEVATION
8. VIEW LOOKING SOUTHEAST, DETAIL OF NORTH ELEVATION
9. DETAIL VIEW LOOKING SOUTHEAST
10. DETAIL VIEW LOOKING NORTHWEST
11. VIEW LOOKING WEST FROM INTERIOR
12. DETAIL OF TRUSS CONNECTION
13. DETAIL OF PIN CONNECTION
14. VIEW LOOKING WEST, SHOWING LOCOMOTIVE AND TRAINSHED
15. Photocopy of a Photograph, Alabama Archives: circa 1897-98. VIEW LOOKING SOUTHEAST
16. Photocopy of a Postcard, Alabama Archives: circa 1915. VIEW LOOKING NORTHWEST
17. Photocopy of original architectural drawing; Office of Chief Engineer: Louisville & Nashville Railroad, dated May 29, 1896. SECTION OF TRAINSHED SHOWING TRUSS STRUCTURE
18. Photocopy of original architectural drawing; Office of Chief Engineer: Louisville & Nashville Railroad, dated June 1897. 'Finish for Gables, Details of Galv. Iron Work.'


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