…is the best description of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, a tribute to a time when train travel was the primary mode of transportation along the Eastern seaboard and hubs were seen as important, vital places where the public gathered. Although the station does not have the soaring dramatic spaces of Washington, DC’s Union Station, or the sheer size and complexity of New York City’s Penn, it greatly improves on both because of its simplicity. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the station’s humility, if you will, is why it succeeds.
“My heart is warm with the friends I make, and better friends I’ll not be knowing,
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take, no matter where it’s going.” ― Edna St. Vincent Millay
The station’s most prominent feature is Walter Hancock’s “Pennsylvania Railroad World War II Memorial,” honoring the state’s railroad employees who were killed in World War II. Their names are engraved on the four sides of the base, but what is most impressive is the fact that many travelers actually stop to admire the statue which portrays the archangel, Michael, lifting a dead soldier from the horrors of war.
Featured prominently in the films, “Blow-Out” and “Witness,” this secondary waiting area has had its characteristic wooden benches removed, making it a more dramatically open public space.