Richard Rost, RTD facilities manager, is organizing the restoration of key elements of the station.
...RTD facilities manager Richard Rost thought a recent auction of antique lighting had just what he was looking for to brighten the cavernous waiting room of Denver's Union Station.
The chandeliers for sale were the right size for the train room and its 66-foot ceilings, which now has large, uninspired fluorescent fixtures.
The proposed price of the antique lights - up to $25,000 apiece - was manageable for RTD
.But the fixtures' Gothic Revival style was not in keeping with the station's history, so Rost
"We passed it by the Landmark Commission
staff, and they agreed it was too ornate," Rost
Working with a $5 million budget, he
is leading the partial renovation of Union Station, which has sections that date to 1881.The station's train room was rebuilt in 1914. The Regional Transportation District
is making only essential improvements and repairs.Much of the work of restoring the historic station will be left to a master developer, who is expected to redo the space as part of the planned $800 million redevelopment of Union Station and its surrounding 18 acres.That redevelopment could take 15 years or more.
The station will be the hub of RTD's
transit system when the agency's $4.7 billion FasTracks expansion is finished in a little more than a decade. To stay faithful to the historic building's architectural styles, Rost uses old photographs to guide the renovation, and proposed changes are run by Denver's Landmark Preservation Commission and the Colorado Historical Society. "Richard is doing a superior job," said Everett Shigeta, a preservation architect on the staff of the landmark commission.
had the Railcar Diner removed from the west wall of the station.
When it came to lighting improvements, Rost
had an option beyond looking for antique fixtures: He
could fashion replicas.
The area through which rail passengers walk to the train platforms was dark and foreboding.
To light up the area, Rost
found historic designs of pendant lights in photographs of the station's old telegraph office.For $50,000, he
had three lights fabricated in the same style, only much bigger.
...On a recent walk-through of the station, Rost shook his head at the obvious color mismatch of the repair work, with white terrazzo patches standing out sharply against the pinkish stone floor that most likely dates to the 1914 reconstruction. RTD's contractor on the project "just didn't spend the time with the color matching," Rost said.
The contractor has agreed to redo the work and get the proper match.
"I'm chipping away," said Rost
, as he
pointed out the cartouches, sconces and pendants that give Union Station its grand feel.
Replacements or reproductions are being considered. (Special / Courtesy of Richard Rost)