The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has released a series of five new stamps highlighting America’s historic train stations. As the places where travelers begin and end their journeys, stations have always played an important role in the national passenger rail system.
A celebration marking the stamps’ release was held on March 9, 2023, at Cincinnati Union Terminal. One of America’s most beloved art deco buildings, the terminal is also a shining example of adaptive reuse – it functions today as a stop for the Amtrak Cardinal (New York-Washington-Cincinnati-Chicago) and a museum center that attracts millions of visitors each year.
“This train station and the others on these stamps provide a majestic and significant history about these buildings that has led to their preservation, reactivation and reuse,” Dan Tangherlini, a member of the USPS Board of Governors, said during the dedication ceremony. “All five stations have stories of persistence and sub-plots involving dedicated people working to save them.”
The stamp series features stations in five communities:
- Tamaqua, Pennsylvania
- Point of Rocks, Maryland
- Richmond, Virginia (Main Street Station)
- San Bernardino, California (Santa Fe Depot)
- Cincinnati, Ohio (Union Terminal)
The last three are served by Amtrak, and all five structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“Just as the railroad represents progress and movement, railroad stations hold stories of industry and commerce, of migration and hope for the future, of reunions and goodbyes,” the USPS noted in a press release. “They are gateways and crossroads where lives meet.” Many of the more than 500 communities served by Amtrak would agree with this sentiment.
Cities and towns across the country have collaborated with a variety of stakeholders to rehabilitate and enhance their stations, or construct new facilities, to better serve Amtrak customers, as well as riders of commuter rail, local and intercity buses and other travel modes. Due to their often-prominent central city locations, station buildings act as community anchors and local landmarks. In addition to welcoming travelers, many have been reimagined to house:
- commercial uses – restaurants, shops and offices
- cultural uses – museums and galleries
- community uses – events spaces
America’s stations remain cornerstones of economic and tourism development initiatives: Read our case studies to learn about successful station revitalization projects in Amtrak-served communities.
Posted March 8, 2023.