I visited this Union Pacific train station as a young boy in the early 50’s; the memories that remain of that day are vivid ones. The whole family went to the train station to see my uncle off to the Army. I couldn’t get over how BIG the place was … and how busy. The place was noisy, people rushing every which way, and there were lots of soldiers in their uniforms, all of them either lounging around looking bored to death or scurrying as best they could under the weight of their heavy duffel bags.
A man’s voice came over the loud speaker, which seemed to jolt some of the lounging soldiers into action. I couldn’t understand the voice on the loud speaker, but he kept listing track numbers and naming towns I’d never heard of. When the voice stopped, groups of soldiers would get up, give hugs and kisses, grab their duffel bag and vanish. My uncle too, all of a sudden he was gone.
The grandeur of train travel has been preserved in the present day Durham Museum in Omaha, NE., just like I remember it, with the ticket windows on the left and the long church pew-like benches on the right. The lower level, where you actually boarded the trains is now a large museum of Omaha’s history and traveling exhibits.
The ticket counter is still the same; notice the clothes and luggage of the woman purchasing a ticket, typical of the 50’s.
The statues scattered around the lobby have recordings of sounds and conversations that were typical of that period.
On that day in the 50’s, after my uncle disappeared, I wanted to go down to the lower level to see the big trains, but my Mom said it was too busy that day. I was disappointed about that, but have never forgotten the enormity of that train station.
Thought for the Day: When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not. Mark Twain