Cass Gilbert Society

Railroad Buildings

New Haven Railroad Station, New Haven, CT

Exterior view

Image ©2007 Nick Marcucci

New Haven Railroad Station

Other Names:
New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Station, now Union Station
50 Union Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut
Design & Construction:
1909-1918[Irish-1999; 1907-1918 Christen-2001]
Cass Gilbert 

Gilbert's involvement with the New Haven station of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad began about the same time (1907) that he started to work with George Seymour and the New Haven Civic Commission on a plan for the city. Gilbert had already designed several small suburban passenger stations for the railroad. The company had absorbed several rail lines and had gained control of the sole line into the Northeast for both passenger and freight service. Charles S. Mellon, president of the New Haven line, had been an executive of the Northern Pacific Railroad and was familiar with the work of Gilbert acting for McKim, Mead & White for that railroad. Mellon initially encouraged Gilbert to design a monumental building that would be a gateway to the city. [Heilbrun-2000 p 186; Christen-2001 p 180]

Gilbert developed “dozens of proposals, including one fashioned in a Georgian mode” dating from 1910. [Christen-2001 p 180; C-11] A more simplified and restrained version of this Georgian design finally began construction in 1917. Irish has described the station as “a rather spare brick block distinguished by a slightly projecting central pavilion with five arches, flanked by five narrow, fenestrated bays on each side, and an attic story above a limestone cornice.” [Irish-1999 p 96]

The station had fallen into decline and was almost demolished before restoration and rehabilitation was begun in 1979 under the auspices of the Northeast Corridor Improvement Project. The station reopened in 1985 and serves Amtrak and several commuter rail lines.

See Also