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Fairbanks Feature: A New Train of Thought – Pittsburgh Union Station Railroad Signs

James D. Van Trump Library | Frank B. Fairbanks Transportation Archive | Fairbanks Features

Showcasing a variety of materials located in the Frank B. Fairbanks Rail Transportation Archive

No. 6 Presentation
Pittsburgh Union Station Railroad Signs

The Frank Fairbanks Rail Transportation Archive is composed of many different types of materials. “Artifacts” is the larger term for a variety of visual, touchable materials. Railroad artifacts were in most cases common items during the peak days of the railroads. While once ordinary and not coveted, artifact memorabilia evokes in the observer today memories of a time when these items were part of a more carefree and less hectic life.

The Fairbanks Archive is pleased to have on the walls of the Archive room 10 outdoor signs from the Pittsburgh Union Station, located at Grant and Liberty Avenue, in downtown Pittsburgh. All railroad stations once had such signs, indicating where to catch the trains to different destinations. While nothing is unique about these red signs with gold lettering, ranging in size from 13 to 51 inches and 18 ½ x 26 ½ inches, they are “the stuff “ that makes for memories. Visitors to the Archive stand looking at these signs and immediately recall their own personal connection to these destinations from Union Station. We are grateful to have these signs.

The Frank B. Fairbanks Rail Transportation Archive is open by appointment on Mondays, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Use of the archive is free to PHLF members (one of the benefits!); non-members are assessed a $10 use fee.

The Archive is located on the fourth floor of The Landmarks Building at Station Square, in the offices of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation.

To schedule an appointment, email the Librarian James Halttunen:

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633