Most major cities around the world have spectacular train stations. You arrive at the station. You go inside. You visit the news stand to get your newspaper. You get your coffee at the coffee bar. Then you go to board your train.
Union Station in Kansas City in the U.S. state of Missouri was built in 1914, and it is one of those train stations that does not disappoint you when it comes to its architecture. You have the spectacular Main Hall. You have the restaurants. You have exhibits that you can look at while you wait for the train. You also have Science City, and you have model train displays. Yes, there is a huge model train exhibit here. There are also a movie theater, live theater, and a planetarium. Of course, you cannot forget the numerous trains that pass through here. As spectacular as this station is, it did experience a severe tragedy.
It was June 17, 1933. Four FBI agents were escorting Frank Nash, a fugitive that had just been captured. The agents were not armed making what was supposed to be an easy rescue. Gang of men, led by Vernon Miller, shot all four FBI agents, but also shot Frank Nash in the process. The event was known as the ‘Kansas City Massacre’. From that point on, all FBI agents were armed with guns. If you visit Union Station today, you can see the bullet holes in the concrete as well as a plaque of remembrance for the officers killed.
Today, a visit to Kansas City will not be complete without a visit to Union Station. You can roam around behind the station and see a few passenger cars and an old streetcar. You can look up at the World War I Tower that overlooks Union Station. It is located at 30 W. Pershing Street near the heart of the city. Oh, while in Kansas City, enjoy some nice barbeque.