Cincinnati, Ohio is not only home to a lot of large corporations like CitiGroup, Kroger Co., Proctor & Gamble, Macy’s, Omnicare, and more, but it also is home to the Hall of Justice.
Okay, well maybe it’s not quite THE Hall of Justice, but Cincinnati is home to the building that inspired the “Super Friends” headquarters in the 1973 Hanna-Barbera show that featured DC Comics heroes. Heroes that included: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and so on.
So what made this building the inspiration for such a center of justice and truth?
According to Alex Shebar, “The building seems to combine the best elements of superhero mythology: the power of Superman’s fortress, the vastness of Batman’s cave, the magnificence of Aquaman’s palace.”
The building I’m talk about is, of course, is Union Terminal. It is one of the last, great train stations built, and is a prime example of the Art Deco style.
A Brief History of Union Terminal
Work first began on the building in 1929, and it was completed March 31, 1933. It cost a total of $41 million and the building and rail yards surrounding it take up an area of 287 acres, with 94 miles of track.
With the decline of train usage, came a problem. What to do with such a great building that was being so poorly utilized?
Since the late 1950’s alternative uses had been discussed, but it was not until the summer of 1968 that the Cincinnati Science Center began operating out of a large train concourse, only using the south side of the space, and allowing for the north side train gates to remain in use. But after only 2 years this closed due to financial issues.
Train services ceased on October 28, 1972 after Amtrak took over passenger rail operations throughout the country in 1971, and decided after a year in Union Terminal to move to a more practical location. Union Terminal began passing through different hands and different uses. It was a freight yard, a mall, and finally the museum option was pursued and realized in 1990.
Union Terminal Today
Union Terminal is now full of history and learning, thanks to the proposal of a Heritage Center for the city. It is made up of three museums: the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children’s Museum, and the Museum of Natural History & Science, as well as the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX Theater and the Cincinnati History Library and Archives. Some of the exhibits focus on Cincinnati history, and there is even a Union Terminal House Detective Agency which uses Cincinnati and Union Terminal history to solve mysteries.
The Union Terminal has withstood the test of time and now has a steady and reliable existence as an icon of Cincinnati, and the icon of Justice.
One of our General Managers, Jill Lewis (pictured), who manages our Chiquita Center location in Cincinnati decided to check out the historic building, and have a little fun pretending to be one of the members of the Justice League.
Even if you are unable to visit Union Terminal in person, this virtual tour of Union Station is a great way to experience what the building has to offer.