The remodeled Rock Island Railroad station at Des Moines Iowa - 1941


EXTERIOR. The apparent changes effected on the exterior of the Des Moines Station are actually the outer aspect of many sweeping improvements made within to bring the Station and its various public facilities up to today's level of modernity.

INTERIOR. Before modernization in 1940. this Waiting Room had several of the typical deficiencies associated in the minds of many people with "railroad station atmosphere". Cold white tile walls reflected glare from brilliant blobs of light suspended overhead. General lighting at reading level was inadequate. Rows of potentially uncomfortable seats obstructed Free passage of patrons either in or out of the station. One other very serious impediment to orderly and efficient handling of busy trav-elers was the location of several facilities. The Ticket Office was at one end of the room, the news stand in another location, and Rest Rooms and Restaurant elsewhere ... none of them in a logical order of accessibility, thus creating cross-currents of traffic at train times. 

Relocation of several facilities and redecoration of the entire area devoted to public use eliminated these undesirable features. In addition, a new ease of management was introduced, in that the Station personnel had all facilities in view at any time, making smoother their relations with the roads patrons.

 In the Waiting Room, the existing marble floor was repaired where necessary and restored to its original cleanliness. The gleam-ing white tile walls were entirely refaced with plywood panels of walnut veneer with maple trim. The original art marble base was left uncovered. Upper windows and frames of the open arches were covered with fir plywood and painted to match the vaulted ceiling. 

The soft tinted ceiling reflects an adequate and pleasing illumination from fluorescent tubes concealed within a continuous cove at arch level. 

On the street side it was decided to exclude the view. Original windows were filled in with 12" x 12" glass buildiou blocks, creating translucent panels about 10' high by 9' wide. Beneath the window-stools of maple, radiators were recessed, covered with louvered shields. finished to match the walnut veneer. Colorful drapes add a pleasingly harmonious note to these window panels. 

On the track or south side of the Waiting Room at the end of a logical 'travel lane" a new Ticket Office was built. This is a flat horseshoe counter, set back on a low shelf, and faced with linoleum up to the counter level. 1 he counter top is also linoleum and carries a glass partition up to chin level, so that conversation between agent and patron is easy.

A canopy of walnut veneer with maple trim extends slightly over the face of the Ticket Office which rises almost to the cove line. The under side of the canopy has recessed flush-type fluorescent fixtures which produce a soft but adequate illumination. 

On either side of the Ticket Office, the old style doors leading to the Train Platform have been replaced by large glass block panels containing modern doors with clear glass panels and push bars. 

A noticeable improvement over the former "station atmosphere" is the complete absence of wooden settees. Instead, comfortable club-like chairs, single and double, in walnut, with appropriate leather upholstery and trim are hospitably placed in informal groups about the Waiting Room. One such group occupies the north wall of the station directly opposite the Ticket Office; another is at the western end opposite the cafe facility, while a third occupies a relative position on the south wall opposite the news stand. Each of these comfortable islands is equipped with linoleum flooring, thus relieving an otherwise unbroken expanse of marble tile. 

On each side of the center chair group on the north wall, which contains 3 of the large glass-block windows, is a service counter of modern design with curved corners—at the western end the cafe, at the eastern end the news stand. 

Each of these is similarly constructed, basically and identically finished. Area of each is about 22' x 10'. Like the Ticket Offi the counters are built set-back above a low shelf. Linoleum with chromium trim is used as facing up to counter level. Counter is linoleum topped, with maple edge. A canopy with 2' overhang supported at the curve by a single column, and is faced with walnut veneer, maple trimmed. Recessed flush fluorescent lighting gives illumination over the counter. 

At the west end, a corridor, similarly finished with walnut and maple, leads to the kitchen, the Men's Room and to the Women's Lounge and Toilet. 

The Rest Rooms are similarly finished: 6" tile floor and wallboard and plaster walls to a 12' ceiling. Walls has a standard horizontal moulding trim at 24" intervals. Walls and ceiling are painted. 

The Women's Lounge is equipped with comfortable furniture at all necessary facilities. 

At the east end of the Waiting Room, a corridor of walnut vent and maple leads over a new marble floor to the station entranc Modern doors of clear glass swing wide, permitting easy access exit. Glass blocks form a fanlight over the doors, allowing plenty daylight to enter. At night fluorescent lighting concealed in a cove furnishes illumination. 

Off to one side, yet convenient to the entrance, there are recess, telephone booths and 5 cabinets of modern Self-service Parc Lockers. each cabinet containing 4 lockers. Illuminated glass sig indicate the locations of the facilities. 

In the southeast corner is the office for the Station Agent and his staff. From this point all public facilities are in view at a glance.


images and info provided by the Popular Mechanics Archive | Zetu Harrys Collection


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