From 1898 to the mid-twentieth century, the ornate Union Station served as the town's central railroad hub, connecting St. Louis and Chicago, as well as a few other main cities in the Eastern U.S. to Illinois' capital city. It's 110-foot clock tower (removed 1946) was the prominent feature in downtown Springfield, greeting visitors immediately upon arrival. Today, the tower has been restored and Union Station is part of the multi-building Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
Springfield Union Station (circa 1898) served several railroads including the Baltimore and Ohio; Chicago, Peoria, and St. Louis; the St. Louis, Peoria and Northern Railway; and the Illinois Central, which was the predominant railroad at Union Station. Most passengers arrived from (or departed to) the two nearest big cities, Chicago and St. Louis, but the railways extended to many of the U.S.' biggest cities (directly or indirectly) by the 1930s.
Unlike other stations in town, Union Station's design included plenty of ornate characteristics and a prominent, three-story clock tower. The 110-foot tower served ostensibly served as a downtown skyscraper, immediately noticed by those coming to and from Springfield, Il. However, the town decided to remove the clock hands in 1936 while in the midst of the Great Depression; the cost of maintaining the clock proved too expensive. Immediately following World War II, the tower was removed down to its base.
Union Station ceased to exist as a functional passenger train center in 1971 when Amtrak came into town -- Amtrak moved into the former Gulf, Mobile and Ohio station, located about three blocks west of Union Station. As a result, notably after a $12.5 million renovation in 2007, Union Station became part of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum complex. The renovation project included restoring the 110-foot clock tower.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. Accessed October 16, 2017. http://www.alplm.org/.
"Springfield's Union Station scheduled to reopen today." The Pantagraph via Associated Press (Bloomington, IL), March 18, 2007. http://www.pantagraph.com/news/article_8699a8cf-a15b-575d-a9c5-6fae00767560.html
Stover, John F. History of the Illinois Central Railroad. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1975.