Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Personal Tour Of Union Station, Kansas City!!

It seems like we did two days worth of sightseeing and walking yesterday, then drove about 5 hours before landing at our present location.  Up early, we headed off to Kansas City proper to see Union Station, the train station used by millions over the years.  This was one of the main hubs of travel back in the day.  You can park right in front, but be sure to put your dollars in the pay slot.

Upon arrival, we discovered the King Tut exhibit was showing in the basement.  It was well worth the $20 entry fee, even though these weren't the original artifacts.  Amazingly, duplicates have been made of most of the items found ... it's those duplicates that are on display here.  I don't know how they did it, but I couldn't tell the difference, even though I saw the real thing in Los Angeles a few years ago.  It's a MUST see!!

This is an exact copy of the way they found items in the tomb.  It looked pretty messy to me, like they had just stuffed things wherever with no rhyme or reason, but then again my storage room after 3,000 years would probably look as bad.
The mummy was placed in a sarcophagi in a sarcophagi in a sarcophagi ... and so on.  I think there were about eight layers of gold boxes.  
Then they came to this sarcophagus and thought YAY!!  We're at the end, but they still had a few to go.
As we walked around the rooms, we listened to the story on hand-held recording devices.  Don't go back out looking for Tom ... or your lost husband ... because when you come back in, it messes up the recordings that come on automatically.  For the first four exhibits, Barbara and I couldn't find the corresponding information!!  The walls of the burial chamber were covered with these paintings, which cover the walls of the room you are in.  Pretty cool!!
We're getting close here ... this is the cover for the last case he was placed in.  He must have died earlier than expected, because many of the items constructed for his burial had someone else's name that had been scratched off or edited.
This was the final mask that was placed over his face that we all know represents Tutankhamun.  
Here's a lovely thought ... they took out his organs and placed them in mini sarcophagi, which were placed in alabaster jars, in an alabaster box.
THAT box was placed in another box of gold.  
Something I never thought about, there were no cupboards or closets in the days of the Pharaoh, so they made storage cases for clothing and jewelry items.
Another nice thought, because of the lice, they shaved their heads.  Since they didn't take showers like we do, they covered themselves with oil, kept in alabaster containers such as this, so they would smell pretty!!  The Egyptian Royalty was definitely worried about appearances.
Back in the main hall, Harvey's Restaurant (not the original Harvey's of railroad fame, but a close resemblance) was calling our name.  With a nice plate of yummy macaroni and cheese in my stomach and Barbara and Tom full of sandwiches, ale soup (not a typo, it was Ale, as in what you drink) and fries, we went to check out the rest of Union Station.  Barbara had started up a conversation with a gentleman at the information counter, who turned out to be one of the original two who helped get this restoration started and completed.  He volunteered to give us a tour of the entire place.  WOW ... a personal tour ... you can't beat THAT!!!  This old picture is of the original building upon it's completion in 1914.  They just celebrated their 100 year anniversary!!
This was the condition of the main hall ceiling when restoration began.  What a mess caused by a leaky roof.
Here's the ceiling today.  Most of the interior just needed a good power wash, but the ceiling was completely restored by a group from Europe who cast, installed and painted each rosette.  The chandeliers and sconces are all original.
"Meet me under the clock" used to be the phrase heard most about this station.  In this old image, you can see the double benches, only two of which survived.  
Today, it looks like this, taken from the upstairs balcony, which anyone can access from the stairs in the corner.  On each side of that long hallway were doors allowing entrance to the platforms for over 250 trains a day that left this station in it's heyday.
This hallway wasn't quite as hard to repair, but the water damage is certainly evident in this old image.
Today it looks gorgeous!!  There was actually a tax placed on local property owners, along with donations from citizens and grant money, that allowed the restoration to take place.  They still have some work to do, but it's amazing how beautiful it is now.
This is one of the many doors to the train platforms.  This one was used in a movie, which is why the train departure times are still on the wall, corrected by our tour guide to ensure authenticity.
When you got off the train, you came through these brass doors to the main station, keeping arriving and departing passengers separate.
Tons and tons of baggage, mail and supplies were shipped on the trains, being loaded by hand into these carts and pulled by the little engine that could!!
One still exists today in the back corner.
The women's waiting room was separate from the "men's" waiting room ... this being for the men who wanted to smoke.
As we continued our tour, we entered the basement, under the train tracks, to the original maintenance areas.  This shadow was the first thing I saw before he turned on the lights.
This room housed all of the equipment to keep the steam heat going in the winter.  Radiators were placed throughout the building, which have since been removed.
Right out the front door is evidence of the gangster days, when Pretty Boy Floyd tried to either keep Frank Nash from talking, or help him escape from the FBI and law enforcement that were moving him by train.  There was a big shootout, killing three lawmen and the one FBI guy.  Frank Nash was also killed and Pretty Boy Floyd escaped.  
The bullet holes remain.  The result of this gunfight was that FBI men were allowed to carry concealed weapons at all times.
We ran over our time allotment, so instead of hearing more train station stories, we headed back to the Elks Lodge to move our rigs to Jackson County Blue Springs park.  We were expecting higher temperatures and Miss Pansy needed some AC.  Didn't we all!!!!  We hit quite a bit of traffic, which wasn't near as bad as the wind gusts that pushed me over the line towards another car.  It didn't take them long to give me a wide berth until we took Bowlin Road off and arrived at our new digs.  It wasn't a five hour drive, only about 20 minutes.  It just FELT like five!!  

My site wasn't very level, causing us an hour of up, down, up, down in order to level my rig.  Don't know what I would do without Tom and Barbara to keep my wheels on the ground so I don't roll down the hill!!  It was 101 degrees inside by the time I got the AC going, but soon cooled off.  Not enough to sleep mind you ... I think I'll sleep on the tile floor tonight!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment