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Union Terminal stamps go on sale following formal unveiling ceremony in Cincinnati

artist rendering of Union Terminal at night
U.S. Postal Service
Artists from Down the Street Designs chose to depict Union Terminal at night to emphasize the dramatic look of the arched dome lit from the inside, according to the USPS' William Gicker.

Not only is Union Terminal being enshrined on a commemorative postage stamp, but Cincinnati has also been selected to host the official unveiling and launch for the entire line of stamps.

In October, the U.S. Postal Service announced its lineup of commemorative stamps for 2023. Cincinnati's historic Art Deco structure is among five train stations nationwide included in a special run of railroad station stamps.

The First Day of Issue ceremony is March 9 at Union Terminal at 11 a.m.

USPS Stamp Services Director William Gicker says the ceremony usually lasts 30 to 45 minutes.

"It's where the stamp is actually made available to the public for the first time. It's a celebratory event and it will have a postal executive (who) will unveil the stamps officially even though they've actually been out in the public view already. ... And there'll be postmarks for that day — first day of issue postmarks — and it's just a celebration of the launch of the stamp."

Commemorative stamps are usually available for about a year from when they're released.

Gicker says trains resonate with Americans, so they thought this collection would be a nice addition.

"We receive about 30,000 suggestions for stamps annually from the American public and train stations also came in from the public. So, we took a look at that subject and decided to go for it," he says.

The design team considered architectural styles and geographic diversity when choosing which stations to highlight. Gicker says they also wanted train stations that people can still visit since rail travel has sharply declined from its heyday, and many are no longer around. Four of the five locations still offer train service.

"It also happens that all five of these are also on the National Historic Register," he adds.

The design team wanted to show the five stations during different parts of the day. The artists chose to depict Union Terminal at night. Gicker says this is to emphasize the building's grand architecture.

"The Cincinnati stamp is a nighttime look which actually gives it more drama because you've got the great arch with the lights and it's all lit with from within," he says. "I wasn't part of the actual design process, but I can see the appeal of seeing all that light come through those large windows."

The stamps were created by artists at Down the Street Designs.

In a statement to WVXU, Cincinnati Museum Center CEO Elizabeth Pierce calls it an honor to have Union Terminal immortalized on a stamp.

"Its history and architecture make it a National Historic Landmark, but its place in people’s lives make it an icon. Union Terminal has been an integral part of our community’s memories for nine decades and, with the release of these commemorative stamps in 2023, we get to reintroduce the nation to our local treasure."

As best anyone can remember, this is the first time Union Terminal has been featured on a U.S. postage stamp.

Updated: March 8, 2023 at 11:18 AM EST
This article was first published on Nov. 21, 2022.
Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.