It’s Day 336 of “365 Things to do in Cincinnati” and today I spent the afternoon in Tower A of the Cincinnati Museum Center.
Tower A sits along the back side of Union Terminal and sits up as high as you can go (at least it seemed like it when you look out the windows!). One wall of the room is completely covered with windows and used to be the spot for controllers to watch the trains as they came in and left. You see, Tower A served as the main control tower for the Cincinnati Union Terminal “back in the day”. For those of you who aren’t aware of the history, The Cincinnati Museum Center sits in what used to be a train station – Union Terminal. In its heyday, Union Terminal saw as many as 20,000 passengers a day. Today, of course, Union Terminal houses some of our city’s finest museums and learning centers… with Tower A being part of that group.
From atop Tower A you can look out the wall of windows and see down to the train tracks that are still active today – and there are lots of them. You can see all kinds of train cars and tracks… and if you’re lucky you might get to see a train come through.
Tower A was restored and is maintained by the Cincinnati Railroad Club. You can visit Tower A (free) on Thursday evenings from 8-11pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4pm. They have lots of old train memorabilia, a gift shop area, a surprising large library, as well as lots of original pieces from the original control tower. Getting up to Tower A does require climbing steps; there is an elevator that goes partially up but you will also have to climb a few flights of stairs to get to Tower A.
If you happen to read this post early enough you can attend National Train Day at Cincinnati Union Terminal which takes place on Saturday (May 7, 2011) in Tower A. Tower A will be open from 11-5 that day. As always, there is no admission (although you will have to pay to park). The Amtrak station (a working train station that’s part of the Museum Center) will also be open from 10am-2pm in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Amtrak at Union Terminal.