Going on Faith

OCT-NOV 2016

The Magazine for faith-based travel planners.

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going on faith [ october | november 2016 ] 26 U N I O N STAT I O N H OT E L [ ST. LO U I S ] The St. Louis Union Station Hotel was originally an intercity train termi- nal in downtown St. Louis that opened in 1894. The station was home to 42 tracks and formerly serviced 22 railroads. When it was operational, it was the largest and busiest train station in the world, with around 10,000 passengers a day passing through its walls during its peak in the 1940s. When the station was built, it was the largest and most ornate train terminal in the country, even beating out the more commonly known Grand Central Station in New York. The Grand Hall features gold leaf, stained-glass windows and Romanesque arches underneath a magnificent 65-foot-high vaulted ceiling. The most notable of the hall's stained-glass pieces is a pane of Tiffany glass that overlooks the entrance to the Grand Hall. The piece is known as the "Allegorical Window" and features three ladies representative of the three famous terminals in the United States during the 1890s — New York, St. Louis and San Francisco. The per- sonifications of the other two cities are looking toward St. Louis in the center as she faces out toward the Hall's interior. In 1985, Union Station officially opened as a resort property. Today the space is the largest historic reuse project completed in the United States and features four ballrooms and multiple attractions and dining options, all on one property. Guests will enjoy the three-dimensional light show that is projected across the vast ceiling space of the Grand Hall. In 2017, the Union hotel will be opening even more rooms featuring the train theme and also a train park. The St. Louis Aquarium is scheduled to open at Union Station in 2018. www.stlouisunionstation.com M A RT H A WA S H I N G TO N H OT E L A N D S PA [ A B I N G D O N , V I RG I N I A ] The story of the Martha Washington Hotel starts with Gen. Robert Preston. The general built the original brick residence as a home for his family when he retired from military service following his successes of the War of 1812. Today, the home of General Preston, his wife and nine chil- dren is the central structure of the hotel, with their living room serving as the main lobby. Preston's home was sold in 1858 and went on to become an upscale women's college known as Martha Washington College. The school oper- ated until the outbreak of the Civil War. When the fighting reached Abingdon, the students became nurses and the school was turned into a field hospital for the wounded of both sides. Following the war, classes resumed at The Martha, as locals referred to the college. Unfortunate circumstances again plagued the school when the Great Depression caused its doors to close for good. At one point, the building was used to house actors and actresses performing at the Barter Theater across the street. After a period of unuse, The Martha officially became a hotel in1935. The Martha has received many notable guests, such as Presidents Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter, as well as other luminaries, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Lady Bird Johnson and Elizabeth Taylor. A recent renovation preserved its original architecture and fixtures but included upgrades for modern amenities. The building's historicity has also been maintained through the display of period antiques and furnish- ings, including the Dutch Baroque grandfather clock that belonged to one of the Preston daughters that still adorns the lobby. www.themartha.com

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