Dayton’s Union Station: Early Years

Union Station, with its massive clock tower, was a well-known landmark of downtown Dayton for more than 60 years. In this blog post and two more to follow, we will share some brief history of the station, as well as some of the many, many photographs of it in our Dayton Daily News Archive.

The Union Station that most Daytonians today might remember is sometimes referred to as the “Tower Depot,” to distinguish it from the earlier “Round Top Depot.” The Round Top was built about 1856 just west of Sixth and Ludlow Streets. By the end of the 19th century, it was no longer adequate for Dayton’s rail transportation needs.

Union Station "Tower Depot," Undated.

Union Station “Tower Depot,” Undated.

A new depot with a tall clock tower was built at the same location in 1899 at a cost of approximately $780,000. This station, the Tower Depot, was officially dedicated on July 21, 1900. It was very busy for the early part of the 20th century, serving many travelers. Elevated tracks replaced the original street level tracks at Union Station and elsewhere in the early 1930s to improve traffic and safety, and the first train to use the elevated tracks at the depot did so on December 15, 1930.

We hope you enjoy these photographs from the early days of Union Station. We will share additional photographs in two more blog posts later this month.

Click on the images in the gallery below to enlarge the image and see more detailed captions. Click the image again on its caption page to view it at its largest available size.

These items and many more like them can be found in the Dayton Daily News Archive in the following series:

  • Dayton Daily News, Union Station Historical
  • Journal Herald Alphanumeric, 50D: Union Station

Additional resources:


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