Readers React: Union Station’s master designer

 Union Station
Crowds watch a train passing by during the celebration of the completion of L.A.'s Union Station in 1939. The station celebrated its 75th anniversary this weekend.
(USC Libraries Special Collection)

Fran Offenhauser’s informative letter about Union Station missed some crucial information about the station’s design. (“Union Station, an only-in-L.A. icon,” Letters, May 6)

She talks about the station designers “turning their backs on their training in aristocratic European styles,” but they never were into these styles. The real story is nothing short of amazing.

Last year saw the publication of the book, “Iconic Vision: John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles,” by Stephen Gee. Parkinson, who designed Union Station, was from northwest England. He grew up in a typical lower-middle-class family, had comparatively little education and came to America to seek more opportunity.

His adventures — gradually morphing from penniless journeyman to eminent architect — are a classic American success story. It is one I can empathize with a bit because I too came to this area from the same part of England.


Martin Usher

Thousand Oaks

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