Transition Years

1971 – 2010

  • When the last passenger train left Union Depot, the Waiting Room and Concourse were closed. The Head House is the one part of the building which has remained open to the community since its construction in 1920.
  • St. Paul Union Depot Company and Minnesota Transfer Railway Company held offices in Union Depot until 1974 when they located to the Midway area of St. Paul.
  • In 1974, Union Depot’s Head House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Located across the Sibley Street from the train deck, the United States Postal Service purchased the train deck, Concourse and Waiting Room in 1977. The roundhouse was razed and all of the tracks were removed after the purchase. Tracks and train platforms were removed from the train deck and it was converted to accomodate mail transport by truck. The USPS used the property until 2010 when it moved operations to Eagan.
  • Many businesses opened and closed in the Head House. Redevelopment schemes were discussed in the intervening years, but none came to full realization.
  • The Head House has been home to the William Crooks steam engine, Continental Cablevision, and restaurants including Lee Ann Chin, Gordon’s and Christos.
  • The Lowertown neighborhood in downtown St. Paul was designated as the eastern terminus of the planned light rail line. In 2002, the RCRRA formed the LOCATE committee, a group of stakeholders made up of business and civic leaders, charged with identifying a location for a multimodal transportation terminal in downtown Saint Paul.
  • Union Depot was envisioned by the LOCATE committee as a viable building for the proposed transportation hub. Located on the Green Line and in a neighborhood at the beginning of a classic urban renaissance, Union Depot was identified as emblematic of initiatives to integrate transportation, land use and environmental planning for robust development.
  • The Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority’s goal was to have the renovation completed before the opening of the light rail line (Green Line).
  • Negotiations for and purchase of the USPS property and portions of the Head House began by the Regional Railroad Authority in 2005. Property purchases totaled $95 million to reassemble the 33-acre site which extends to the east beyond the Lafayette (Hwy 52) bridge.