Union Station History

The Crawford Hotel Monogram Detail

The Crawford is one of the most historic Denver, Colorado hotels. As the only hotel located within Denver Union Station, The Crawford has a unique past. From fires, to presidential visitors to World War II and more, The Crawford Hotel embraces its rich and vibrant heritage.


May, 1881

The original building opens, under the name Union Depot, costing $525,000. This building served as a connecting line to the Transcontinental Railroad through Cheyenne, Wyoming. It allowed the city of Denver to expand significantly, growing from 5,000 people pre-1881 to 50,000 just a few years later.



A fire that started in the women’s restroom destroys much of the original building, including the wooden clock tower. The existing stone and brick walls of the building are kept relatively intact…allowing Union Depot to be rebuilt rather quickly with a stone clock tower, 40 feet taller than the wooden original. 



The Denver police outlaw kissing on the platform as it slows down the trains and delays departure. 

Mizpah Arch Denver Union Station
July 4, 1906

The Mizpah Arch is formally dedicated. Welcoming travelers to Denver on one side, the Arch also features the word “Mizpah,” a word connoting an emotional bond between people who are separated, to those departing Denver via the railways. 


Union Station History 1914

The stone clock tower is torn down along with the Great Hall area in order to expand the building to accommodate the growing popularity of train travel. It is rebuilt in the exterior style we see today under the new name, Union Station. 


1914 through late 1940’s

Union Station serves as the main transportation hub for Colorado and the American West. The building supported between 60 and 80 trains a day and saw many presidents, celebrities and historic figures pass through its walls. During World War II it served as a major transit area for soldiers heading overseas and saw more than 200,000 visitors during these years.


December 7, 1931

The Mizpah Arch is removed as it becomes a traffic hazard. While it was meant to be restored at a later date, in 1941 the metal was shipped off to the war effort. There are currently no plans to restore the Arch. 


The “Travel by Train” neon sign is erected to promote the declining train travel industry in Denver. As an addition to the building it was a success, but as an advertising scheme it failed to bring train travel back to its original glory. Just five years after the sign was erected Union Station was surpassed by Stapleton Airport as the main hub of transportation in Denver.


July 30, 2010

The US Department of Transportation announces the Union Station revitalization project



RTD approves the lease of Union Station to Sage Hospitality, Larimer Associates, REGen LLC, and Urban Neighborhoods.


May 9, 2014

Union Station Bus Concourse opens, serving locations around Denver, Colorado and more. 

July 12, 2014

Denver Union Station opens, along with The Crawford Hotel, as “Denver’s Living Room” maintaining many historic features of the building. The 112 room hotel is built into the existing structure of Union Station and captures the many eras of Denver's history. 


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