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Opening of Union Station Almost Delayed By Kittens

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, May 05, 2009, at 10:57AM
Union Station Grand Opening Parade Los Angeles Times [unitproj.library.ucla.edu]

Union Station's three days of Grand Opening Festivities on May 3 - 5, 1939, were highlighted by a parade through Downtown. Here, a steam locomotive makes its way down Alameda.

The grand opening of Union Station, which turned 70 this week, was almost delayed by the furriest of foes: a gray alley cat named Boots and her three newborn kittens.

It seems Boots had made friends with the workmen who were readying the $11,000,000 station for its opening. The problem arose when Boots disappeared into an air-conditioning channel in the back of the ticketing lobby and workers soon heard "a chorus of weak meowing," to use the words of the L.A. Times, which wrote two stories on the situation.

The event, which took place just a month before the station was supposed to open, concerned the engineers responsible for readying the air-conditioning system. They faced the possibility of tearing out that part of the system to remove the cats or delaying the station's opening until the newborns came out on their own.

Thankfully, Boots obliged. The L.A. Times recorded the event.

Yesterday, however, just bursting with maternal pride, Boots carried three tiny blind kittens into the light of day.

Proudly Boots caried them, one at a time, tenderly in her jaws to a luxurious new home in another part of the building.

The air-conditioning system was speedily finished.

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