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Union Terminal fountain restored to its original glory

Fountain completely removed during renovation
Posted at 2:25 PM, Nov 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-14 18:25:09-05

CINCINNATI -- One of the most recognized features of Union Terminal will be restored to its former glory. The fountain has been the gateway to Union Terminal for generations of Tri-State residents so the renovation team had to get it right.

Turner Construction's Steven Swisher is the senior project manager.

"We did 3D mapping of the stones, all the fountain, all the concrete -- understanding that everything as it was, was to go back exactly in its same location down to the millimeter if you could," Swisher said.

Union Terminal has undergone a $228 million historic restoration, the first in its 85-year history. The fountain alone was a large undertaking. The entire fountain was completely removed from the lot to restore the waterproofing and replace the decades-old plumbing system.

Union Terminal

"So in this case we kind of rerouted it all and brought it up in one spot right there inside the landscaping and ran it all above ground," said architect Nick Cates.

This part was so important because of what's underneath the fountain.

RELATED: Watch new documentary 'Saving Union Terminal'

"What many people may not appreciate is the fountain is actually the roof of a third of the building," explained President and CEO of the Cincinnati Museum Center Elizabeth Pierce.

The next significant upgrade was bringing back the original terrazzo finish from the 1930s. Terrazzo is a flooring material made from exposed chips of marble or glass on a concrete surface. By restoring the original finish, the fountain will take people back in time to gaze at the same fountain people gazed at decades ago -- pretty close to the same fountain at least.

WATCH: Renovations complete at Union Terminal


"When we took the fountain apart we did find original chunks of that terrazzo so we could match it very well," Cates said.

Union Terminal partially reopened Nov. 2. The official reopening of Union Terminal and the Cincinnati Museum Center is Nov. 17 with the debut of the brand new Dinosaur Hall and return of the Duke Energy Holiday Trains. More galleries will open in phases over the next several years.