In the 1960s Portland lost two great architectural landmarks, with the destruction of Union Station on St. John Street and the Grand Trunk Railroad Station on India Street. With the decline in passenger rail service in the 1960s, both stations were made obsolete. Union Station was replaced by a shopping center, while the Grand Trunk Railroad site is now occupied by a pumping station. The loss of these unique landmarks continues to energize many Portlanders to preserve the city’s historic buildings.
55 years ago, on August 31, 1961, Union Station came crashing down. Still reeling from the event, in 1962 Edith Sills gathered concerned citizens in her Vaughan Street living room to form an organization to advocate for the preservation of Portland's historic architecture. The group would become Greater Portland Landmarks.
Historic Postcard Images of Union Station
The Demolition of Union Station documented by Doris I. Johnson
Grand Trunk Railroad Depot
This year also marks 50 years since Grand Trunk Railroad Station was torn down in March of 1966. What is left of the station is in the process of being preserved by Gorham Savings Bank. The Grand Trunk Railroad contributed to Portland's success as a seaport by extending its railroad tracks right onto the wharves, allowing products coming into Portland from western Canada through Montreal direct access to ships that would carry this cargo throughout the world.