Metal Refinishing Adds New Luster to Historic Restoration of Cincinnati Union Terminal


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March 13th, 2018

Metal Refinishing Adds New Luster to Historic Restoration of Cincinnati Union Terminal

From transportation hub to center of art and learning, Cincinnati’s historic Union Terminal has welcomed travelers and curious minds from around the world since its opening in 1933.

This Art Deco masterpiece just west of Downtown Cincinnati boasts the western hemisphere’s largest half dome and the second largest in the world after the Sydney Opera House. The rotunda features vast murals depicting U.S. and Cincinnati history, designed by renowned German-born artist Winold Reiss and crafted of glass mosaic tile.

The terminal also holds a special place in pop culture as the inspiration for the iconic Hall of Justice building featured in the Super Friends and Justice League cartoons.

Now, 85 years after its completion, the terminal is getting a well-deserved $212 million renovation, funded in part by a local voter-approved sales tax and state tax credits.


Restoration Project

The project is led by Turner Construction Company, a leading commercial building contractor in Cincinnati since 1903, and the name behind other landmarks including the Great American Tower at Queen City Square, and Paul Brown Stadium, home to the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals.

An interdisciplinary team of experts spanning the fields of science, technology, math, engineering and history have brought their talents to the project.

  • Improvements to the Union Terminal Fountain
  • Cleaning and repair of the terminal’s iconic glass tile mosaics
  • Disassembly and rebuilding of the Art Deco station’s drum walls with steel-reinforced concrete block wall
  • Heating and cooling improvements, including new duct work in exhibition galleries, to meet the climate control needs of the museum’s vast collection of artifacts.


Metal Restoration Process

Turner Construction has tapped Mid America Metals to clean and refinish a number of metal assets throughout this historic facility.

  • Aluminum railings
  • Signage
  • Marquees
  • Storefronts
  • Display cases
  • Decorative grilles

Special care must be taken to preserve the original finish of each architectural surface. Mid America Metals worked closely with a preservation architect to develop an appropriate method for restoring each surface.

The process includes using mild abrasives and pH-neutral synthetic detergents to remove surface contaminants while not disturbing the historic integrity.

Metal refinishing, along with every other meticulous detail in this special project, will restore the Terminal to its original grandeur so that it continues to make an indelible impression on visitors for the next 85 years and beyond.

Learn more about how Mid America Metals can be the secret weapon on your next renovation, historic restoration or new construction project.