Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Union Terminal

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Union Terminal is the next stop on my mini-tour of haunted Cincinnati. It opened in 1933 as a passenger railroad station, but the terminal is now the home of the Cincinnati Museum Center. And, as I've learned on my ghost studies of my home town, it is also haunted.

The building is known for its Art Deco style, and the terminal rotunda is the largest semi-dome in the western hemisphere. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The dome ceiling plays a big role in one of the more famous ghost stories surrounding the Terminal.

The Museum Center is home to the Cincinnati History Museum, which features a World War II exhibit called Cincinnati Goes to War.  A replica of a WWII-era fighter plane hangs from the ceiling as part of the exhibit. The plane is empty, but security guards working nights at the museum have consistently reported seeing a young pilot in full military uniform at the controls of the plane. In rare instances, day visitors have also claimed to see the mystery pilot.

Union Terminal has a strong connection to World War II, as the railroad station was at its peak during this time period. Cincinnati became a "hub" for transporting soldiers both when they went overseas and when they came back home, and as such the station was always packed, both with people and with emotion, throughout the war years. Some speculate that Union Terminal could have been the last stop for the young pilot before he was shipped off to war, where he met his death.

A more recent haunting involves a woman named Shirley, who worked as a night guard at the Museum Center in the 1990s and was murdered by robbers who broke into the building. Current night guards insist that Shirley continues to protect the museum halls even in death, and they often hear her footsteps behind them while they are making their own rounds. In addition, guards have reported seeing flashlights coming from halls known to be empty, and doors that are closed and locked behind an invisible presence. According to legend, Shirley is still at work and will be guarding the terminal for eternity.

I thought this was going to be my last post for my haunted Cincinnati mini-theme, but came across another ghoulish site that I am going to use for my "W" post. I'm starting to think that if I had known about the ghostly places sooner, I could probably have done an entire A-Z on Cincinnati haunts. I never realized I live in such a creepy place!

38 comments:

  1. Wow what a great story and what a great place to live in.

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  2. Trains still run from Union Terminal in the middle of the night. I didn't know there was any kind of haunting. :)

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  3. Lots of ghosts up there in Cincinnati. I like the backstory for the pilot and the security guard.

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  4. You do live in a ghost infested city!

    Love, love old railroad stations. Some of the architecture from the railroad's heyday is just gorgeous. So glad to see these places get refurbished and used. They're redoing our Union Station in Denver and I can't wait to see how it looks when they're done.

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  5. You could do that for your next year's theme. I am such a scaredy (sp?) cat!! I went to school in Athens, which is one of the most haunted campuses. There are lots of interesting stories surrounding the school. You couldn't pay me a million dollars to go ghost hunting these days though.

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  6. Excellent background for good old-fashioned ghosts stories. How fun to learn about the local haunts.

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  7. @LynnMarie, thanks!

    @Tonja, I didn't know the trains ran in the middle of the night, kind of creepy.

    @Tim, yeah, I'm starting to freak myself out with all the ghosts LOL.

    @LG, I so agree, I think the architecture is amazing. I love the history of the railways, so interesting to me.

    @ejw, oh, I've heard about the ghost stories at OU. I wouldn't want to go ghost hunting either, I'd be too chicken LOL.

    @Mary, it has been fun, thanks!

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  8. Oh, I've missed some Cincinnati spots--will have to catch up soon. I think Union Terminal is beautiful and I didn't know that tidbit about it being a hub for transportation during the war. I saw a great psychology exhibit in the 1990's at the museum. My sister thinks the Children's Museum there is fantastic.

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  9. Utterly fascinating! I love iconic buildings and it's not surprising that most of them come with the most amazing stories!


    SueH I refuse to go quietly!
    Twitter - @Librarymaid

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  10. @Jennifer, I didn't know about the war transportation either, thought it was interesting to learn about. The Terminal is a beautiful building, no doubt.

    @Sue, thank you!

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  11. I've really been enjoying your ghost stories, ice cream posts, and bakery stops! You are quite a versatile writer, and you make everything entertaining! Oops, I should've saved versatile for tomorrow! Julie

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  12. I sense some great fiction coming out of these ghost stories, especially the one about Shirley the security guard. :)

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  13. Ooh, creepy! Bad enough being in a shut up building at night anyway without footsteps behind you! Great story :-) LindaK

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  14. Very nice space. Another haunted place!

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  15. @Julie, thanks so much!!

    @Madeline, isn't that story about Shirley creepy? Poor woman!

    @Linda, no doubt, I would be freaked out just being there at night anyway, I'd never make it as a guard LOL.

    @Theresa, it is a gorgeous place.

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  16. And I thought New Orleans was haunted. Be cool to check out the museum.

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  17. You are a very good writer and I loved this post. Excellent.

    Yvonne.

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  18. Julie, I am completely engrossed in all of your posts. Maybe you should do a weekly posting (after the Challenge) on haunted places. Just a thought. No matter what you plan to do come May, I will be visiting your blog on a regular basis.

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  19. No, no, not creepy... colorful. Cincinnati is very very colorful. (Um, is transparent a color? HA!)

    Another great post, with some more great stories. I'll bet you're enjoying digging up these old stories, even if the corpses you've dug up won't stay dead...

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  20. I love this place...we went to the titanic exhibit there and fell in love with the building...it is gorgeous! Great post Julie!

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  21. Gorgeous building! I've seen photos before in various mags. More personally, my father transited the terminal, just as you said, when he was a GI during WWII. At that time, troops didn't know where/when they were going as, to confuse the enemy, troops criss-crossed the country until units met at departure destinations. My father ended up in the Pacific Campaign, Iwo Jima.

    Another great post, Julie. I'm lovin' Cincinnati!

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  22. I will have to visit Cincinnati after reading your posts!

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  23. I will have to visit Cincinnati after reading your posts!

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  24. It's a beautiful building. I'm struck by the fact Shirley is such a young ghost - somehow I always think of them being from a long time ago, it never occurred to me that new ones were still being made!

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  25. @Alex, oh, I bet there are great ghost stories around New Orleans. The museum is a fun place to visit.

    @Yvonne, oh, thanks, that's very kind of you!

    @Susan, thanks so much, I really appreciate that! I will definitely be visiting your site as well.

    @Susan, LOL, that's definitely a nicer way to look at it. The ghosts have been fun.

    @Tracy, I think it's such a gorgeous building too. I was glad they were able to turn it into a museum instead of just tearing it down.

    @Kittie, oh, that's so interesting about your father! And I know the Pacific Campaign was a nightmare, I can only imagine what he went through.

    @Susan, I hope you do, thanks!

    @Annalisa, that's exactly what I thought! I was so surprised when I read that Shirley was just killed in the 90s. So gruesome, the poor woman.

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  26. I think your A-Z of Cincinnati should be put into a tour guide :)

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  27. Hi Julie - what a great "U" post and I'll be looking forward to "W".

    What a great way to get to know your piece of the planet - one good haunt at a time!

    Jenny @ Pearson Report
    Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

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  28. Ooh, creepy! Wouldn't want to be there alone in the dark for sure.

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  29. I know the US has some great art deco stations but I never realized re this one in Ohio - great post Julie

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  30. Wow that's great! The stories you post on here are way cool. Also, the picture of your dog in your profile is adorable. I love animals too.

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  31. Creepy can turn out to be adventurous--:D -at least that's what I think, but I'm biased cos I like creepy..LOL.
    The Union Terminal is truly beautiful with the drawings on the wall. I can imagine how it looked back in 1933. Poor Shirley! so sad about what happened to her.

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  32. I love that you are sharing all of these amazing site around Cinci. I have never been there, but I see I'm going to have to make a visit as soon as I can. What an intriguing city.

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  33. @Carolyn, oh, that would be fun! :)

    @Jenny, thank you!! I am definitely enjoying getting to know these haunts.

    @Cherie, I agree, I love them.

    @Cherie, LOL, I wouldn't either, you couldn't pay me to be there in the dark.

    @David, thank you!

    @Jessica, oh, thanks, it's always great to meet another animal lover. Thank you!

    @Cecilia, I agree about the murals, I'd love to have seen them when they were first done.

    @Melissa, thank you! There are things I don't like about Cincy, but it's been fun to share the good stuff. :)

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  34. What a cool story! I'd love to see the place and maybe get a few goose bumps.

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  35. @Christine, LOL, I know I would get goose bumps if I went at night. But it is a really cool place.

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  36. @ Julie .. the terminal looks extremely beautiful - love art deco style.

    The pilot - and the guard ... I hope one day they can get some rest ..

    Great tour Julie - thanks .. Hilary

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  37. @Hilary, thank you, I'm so glad you liked it. :)

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Thank you for your comments!