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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Lauren Dianich, 05/1984
Union Station
Inventory No.: WI-150
Other Name(s): New York, Philadelphia & Norfolk Railroad Station; Pennsylvania Railroad Station
Date Listed: 5/2/2007
Location: 611 E. Railroad Avenue, Salisbury, Wicomico County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1913-14
Description: Union Station, located along the right-of-way of the former Pennsylvania (now PennDel) Railroad in the center of Salisbury, was constructed in 1913-14 on a poured concrete foundation. The Flemish bond brick main block is covered by a medium-pitched hip roof sheathed in slate, while the adjacent single-story wings have low-pitched gable roofs disguised by parapet walls. The yard around the station retains portions of its original brick paving. Converted from a passenger station into a freight facility around 1958, the building was sold by Consolidated Railroads of Pennsylvania in 1986, and it has been used for other commercial purposes since then. The main block is 1 1/2-stories, five bays by two. The Flemish bond is highlighted by a glazed header checkerboard pattern. At the foundation level there is a cut granite stone base to the Flemish bond brick watertable accented with a cut stone-like cap executed in molded terra cotta or perhaps concrete. The surfaces of all the stone-like accents have decorative ridging that imitates tool marks as if the material was truly cut stone. The west elevation is a symmetrical five-bay facade featuring a projecting center bay surmounted by a gable-front roof. The original center, three-part window was converted into a garage bay when the passenger station was adapted to a freight facility after 1958. With the construction of an elevated delivery platform across the front of the projecting bay, a new floor level was established at the approximate level of the former window sill height. The wide opening retains a jack arch with a keystone of molded concrete. Stretching across the bay above the door opening is a shed-roofed awning supported on heavy chamfered-edge bracket supports. The original rafter blades of the shed roof have decorated ends. The wall surface above the shed roof is pierced by an original Palladian style window accented with jack arches and decorative brickwork. The edges of the projecting bay have pain brick pilasters that rise to a decorative modillion block cornice which enriches the edge of the gable-front roof. To each side of the projecting bay are pairs of bricked-up window openings topped by brick jack arches fitted with decorative stone-like keystones. The outside corners of the main block are defined by stone-like quoins. The shed-roofed canopy stretches across the brick wall surface above the level of the first-floor window openings. Above the roofline are half-round lunette windows accented with decorative stone sills and keystones fixed in semi-circular rowlock arches. The top of the wall features the modillion block cornice, which continues around the perimeter of the building. The north side of the main block is covered almost completely by the single-story wing, erected in the same Flemish bond brick patterning with glazed header accents, quoins, and cornice. The west side of the wing is pierced by a tripartite window with a center 12/12 sash flanked by 9/1 sash. The window opening has a molded stone-like sill and a keystone is fitted in the center of the brick jack arch. Rising above the north wing and centered on the wall of the main block is a tall brick chimney stack with a corbeled cap. The north side of the wing has a wide center door flanked by a 9/1 sash window to the west and a personnel door to the east, converted from a window. These openings feature the same keystoned arches. The north wall retains remnants of the shed-roofed awning, however the rafter blades are tapered and plainly cut unlike the decorated rafter end found on the south and west sides. The east side of the north wing has a boarded-over tripartite window. The east or track side of the main block is currently dominated by the raised freight platform that meets the passenger station at window sill height. In the center is a projecting bay like that on the west facade. The first-floor level has a retractable door that replaced the original tripartite window opening, and a Pal Significance: Salisbury's Union Station is architecturally significant for its embodiment of the characteristics of the Colonial Revival style. Built in 1913-14 near the junction where the New York, Philadelphia & Norfolk Railroad intersected with the Baltimore, Chesapeake and Atlantic Railroad, this Colonial Revival building stands out as the most elaborate passenger facility to survive on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Superbly crafted of Flemish bond brick walls with glazed header accents and trimmed with stone-like terra cotta cornices, corner quoins, keystones, and window sills, Union Station is dramatically emblematic of the early-20th century resurgence of neoclassicism following the World Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893. The new wave of neoclassicism included reinterpretations of colonial American designs and construction practices that contrasted sharply with the eclecticism and romanticism of Victorian aesthetics that had dominated American architectural designs since the third quarter of the 19th century. Less ambitious and less elaborate stations were built in nearby Princess Anne (1907) and Pocomoke City (1912); the design and construction of Union Station outdistanced by far these and other facilities in size, function, and serviceability due to its location at the junction of the two principal rail lines that served the peninsula during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Union Station is also historically significant for its association with the development of railroad transportation on the Eastern Shore. Due to its location and elaborate construction, Union Station is one of the major transportation landmarks of railroad history on the Eastern Shore, built during the period when the peninsular rail system had achieved its full maturity and influence for the region. Important as well is the aspect of cooperation and coordination inherent in the construction of Union Station by two independent railroad companies for the common good of the public traveling
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