With less than six months to go in the first full restoration in the National Historic Landmark’s 85-year history, Union Terminal is readying for the return of guests over a busy summer. The exterior set of historic doors that have welcomed guests for over eight decades are back after extensive cleaning and repairs. The Duke Energy Children’s Museum reopened this month after extensive work on the steel structure of the mezzanine level was completed. In the Westheimer Changing Exhibition Galleries, new lighting, flooring, sprinkler systems and IT system upgrades are on track to wrap up this month, paving the way for the opening of three new special exhibitions over the summer.
Here’s a look at what else crews are working on this month.
- Craftsmen are in the final stage of the historic fountain rebuild. Crews are beginning the application of terrazzo to the fountain surface. The terrazzo will have a rustic, coarse finish matching the original fountain surface. Previously, over 450 cubic yards of concrete were poured to form the fountain basin before a two-layer polyurea waterproofing was applied and historic limestone was returned around its perimeter.
- After more than nine months of repairs by the Verdin Company, the gears and internal mechanisms of Union Terminal’s iconic clock are being reinstalled. The system has also been updated to be more efficient. With the updated mechanism, the red neon hands on the 14-foot face will soon move like clockwork.
- Nearly 700 historic light fixtures begin returning to the building this month. These fixtures, including candlestick lights ringing the Rotunda and red and green traffic lights in the Museum of Natural History & Science and Cincinnati History Museum ramps, have been extensively cleaned, repaired and outfitted for efficient LED lighting. In instances where light fixtures were missing, they were reproduced using original schematics.
- Work is well underway to restore the Scripps Howard Newsreel Theater. The theater’s 118 original seats have been removed for cleaning and repairs and the projection booth is being fitted out for a new projector and sound system, prepping the theater for daily programming and use.
- In the rear of the building, work to rebuild the west wall continues. New steel is being installed this month to replace the supplemental steel added in the 1970s when the wall was built after nearly 400 feet of the original concourse was demolished.
Number to know: 2,300 – Over 2,300 pieces of historic limestone and granite are being reinstalled on the fountain and plaza in the precise location they were removed from in March 2017. The stones were originally removed in preparation of waterproofing on the plaza deck, which sits above the Duke Energy Children’s Museum and portions of the Museum of Natural History & Science and Cincinnati History Museum.