Restoration / January 2017
Union Station Redevelopment Corporation
In 2016-2017, the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC) and Aeon Preservation Services called on Robinson Iron to restore the iconic rostral columns at Washington Union Station, a national landmark located in Washington, DC.
Union Station History
Built in 1907 and opened in 1908, Washington Union Station once served as a major rail transportation hub for the Eastern Seaboard. The USRC was established in 1983 by the Department of Transportation to take charge of restoring, rehabilitating, and preserving the station.
As part of the station’s commanding façade, architect Daniel Burnham designed a set of gold-leafed rostral columns resting on stone balustrades, each decorated with lights, with gold-leafed cast-iron eagles resting on top. After the station’s heyday in the 1940s, it fell progressively into disrepair.
As part of ongoing restoration efforts, engineers conducted an examination of the rostral columns in 2014. They found the columns themselves to be structurally sound but still in extensive need of repair. The granite balustrades needed restoration, the eagle statues needed re-gilding, and the structures required fresh paint as well, among other things.
About the Project
Robinson Iron is pleased to have been entrusted by the USRC with this restoration project.
This extensive project required us to remove the rostral columns and lamp posts off-site for restoration while the granite balustrades were kept in place and restored on-site. This was the first time since the station’s construction that the columns were removed for cleaning and maintenance.
We transported the columns to our Alabama foundry, where they were meticulously disassembled, cleaned, and painted. We also carefully re-gilded the gold eagle statues atop the columns with gold leafing. We then transported the columns back to the site and reassembled them on the newly restored balustrades.
The team at Robinson Iron is happy that our handiwork has become part of the fabric and history of this national landmark, which is now being carefully preserved for the enjoyment of Americans for many years to come.
About Robinson Iron
Since 1946, Robinson Iron has been the cast metal and restoration company of choice for historic landmarks, city planners, preservation companies, and historical institutions throughout the United States and beyond. To learn more about our restoration services, call us at 1.800.824.2157.