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Pennsylvania Station (Penn Station) in Baltimore


Known in Baltimore simply as "Penn Station," Pennsylvania Station is a hub of transport in the city. The building is one of the most recognizable - and one of the most beautiful - in all of Baltimore.

The Location
Penn Station is located at 1515 N. Charles Street, north of Mount Vernon and south of the Station North Arts & Entertainment District. It is about a mile and a half north of downtown and the Inner Harbor, and easily accessible from BWI Airport (check here for specifics on transportation).

The station is located on a rise in the land between the busy Amtrak Northeast Corridor and the Jones Falls Expressway, which also serves as a one of many bike trail in Baltimore. It is canted at a 45 degree angle to North Charles Street, making it prominently stand out amongst the grid of the rest of the city.

The Architect
New York architect Kenneth MacKenzie Murchison (1872-1938) is the name behind the building. Murchison graduated from Columbia University in 1894 and also studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France. His first major commissions were all for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and also included Delaware Lackawanna Station in Hoboken, New Jersey, as well as both the Lackawanna Terminal and the Lehigh Terminal, in Buffalo, New York.

The History
Constructed in 1911 in the Beaux-Arts style of architecture, the $1 million station emphasized Baltimore's importance as a dominant rail hub and major metropolis on the East Coast.

The Name
Penn Station was actually first known as Union Station because it was served by both Pennsylvania Railroad and Western Maryland Railway. In 1928, it was renamed to match other Pennsylvania Stations.

Current Services
Penn Station is served by Amtrak, MARC, and the Light Rail system operated by the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA). MTA buses, the Charm City Circulator, the Johns Hopkins University shuttle and the Bolt Bus also depart from stops near the station.

It is easy to not only get around the city, but also get to other cities across the United States from Penn Station, especially Washington, DC.

The Sculpture
Outside Penn Station is a 51-foot (15.5 meter) aluminum statue by noted sculptor Jonathan Borofsky. Titled Man/Woman, the statue has generated considerable controversy, with many critics saying it distracts from the classic lines of Penn Station's Beaux-Arts architectural style.

Fun Facts
  • Penn Station is the eighth busiest rail station in the United States by number of passengers served.
  • The current building is the third railroad depot on this North Charles Street site.
  • In 1952, Richard Nixon, then a U.S. Senator from California and the Republican Party's nominee for Vice President, cited Penn Station as the place where a package containing a dog was waiting for him. Later, his daughter Tricia would name the cocker spaniel "Checkers."
  • In 2009, Amtrak announced it had reached an agreement to build a 77-room hotel on the station's top three floors. When completed, it will be called The Inn at Penn Station
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