WEST LOOP — Chicago Union Station just spent more than $2 million replacing its marble steps, the ones perhaps best known for being part of a movieland mob shootout in "The Untouchables."
Visitors traversing the travertine marble stairs off Canal Street at the Downtown train station at 500 W. Jackson Blvd. are now greeted in the station's Great Hall by a pop-up video display sharing the history of the original steps, which date back to the day Union Station opened in 1925.
Interesting factoids include: each step weighs between 500 and 600 pounds, they were quarried and delivered straight from Italy, and they were part of the total $75 million station project back in the early 20th century, a sum that equals more than $1 billion today.
The exhibit also includes a time-lapse video of the staircase project.
"We want to recognize the history of the building, and it's our responsibility as the owner to look back," said Marc Magliari, a Chicago-based spokesman for Amtrak, a subsidiary of which owns Union Station.
The train station debuted the new steps last month. Because Union Station was landmarked by the city in 2002, the new steps are also made of imported marble and completely mimic the originals.
The project cost $2.2 million, and 12 percent of the original steps were salvaged, Magliari said. During construction, crews noticed 90-year-old newspapers that were used as shim to align the steps' handrails.
Bennetts has since closed. [DNAinfo/Andrew Herrmann]
Given their grand nature, the stairs have set the scene for many movies, including "My Best Friend's Wedding," "Man of Steel," and the aforementioned "Untouchables" starring Kevin Costner and Sean Connery. Here is the shootout scene set on the Downtown steps:
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