The Great Overland Railroad Station in Topeka, Kansas is an attraction that is celebrating and preserving the rich railroad history of Topeka. The Station building was designed by a very famous and well-known architect named Gilbert Stanley Underwood. When finished it received rave reviews as one of the best passenger stations at that time on the Union Pacific railroad line. It was opened on January 27, 1927.
Once you are inside the building you will be impressed by the ceiling which is 34 feet high. Also, you will be impressed by the ornate terra cotta ornamentation that is beautifully glazed. The building is a stunning representation of a classic railroad structure. The building’s last passenger left by train on May 2, 1971. From 1971 to 1992 the history of the building included a renovation for multiple railroad offices, an abandonment of the building, and a fire that severely destroyed the building.
After the fire the Great Overland Railroad Station was scheduled to be demolished by the Union Pacific Railroad Corporation. However, a petition from the Railroad Heritage Inc. society to Union Pacific helped to save the building from immediate demolition. This was followed by a use and feasibility study which indicated that the most desirable use for the building would be to house a future railroad heritage museum.
A capital campaign assessment showed that the funds necessary to renovate the building would be possible and therefore on July 2, 1998 the Great Overland Railroad Station was presented to the Topeka Railroad Days by the Union Pacific Corporation. This was followed by a project that would establish the Great Overland Railroad Station as a heritage building. After this establishment the building was then slowly converted into a railroad heritage museum. The Great Overland Railroad Station reopened its doors in June 2004 and to this day it remains a truly beautiful community landmark.