Explore one of the many impressive locales seen inThe Root of Evil.
Completed in 1923, St. Paul's Union Depot is an architectural jewel in a city known for its beautiful historic buildings. Before the widespread use of automobiles, this railroad station was a bustling hub of transportation hosting 282 train movements on a daily basis. Even in the face of decreasing ridership, the station continued to run for nearly five decades after its construction. On April 30, 1971, Union Depot ceased operations.
After decades of relative disrepair, an ambitious project to restore the station to its former glory was approved in 2005. Seven years and $243 million later, Union Depot celebrated its grand reopening as an active transportation center in late 2012. I was part of that crowd of onlookers, watching in awe as the Grand Concourse was unveiled. It was a truly magnificent sight. The great skylights (formerly darkened during the war years) cast a brilliant golden light upon the waiting room, with its gorgeous frieze detailing.
Such a space seemed prime for our period film. The exceptional renovation was done with meticulous attention to detail, with no expense spared. And yet, the station remained empty during our early visit. Plans for modern light rail, Amtrak and Greyhound services were in the then-distant future. We swiftly took advantage of this temporary vacancy, filming our scenes (with generous permission) in May of 2013.
Filming took place from early morning to late afternoon. Our time was cut short by a gradual stream of curious visitors, clad in modern garb. As we left that marvel of architectural beauty, our cast and crew felt humbled. How many have had the remarkable opportunity to shoot a movie in such a public space without outside distractions?
Today, crowds of commuters have returned to Union Depot--a place that was born into the roaring 1920's before seemingly fading away into the modern age. We have had the tremendous honor to witness its rebirth.
RYAN A. HUANG