A Union Depot area once used by World War II troops as a bowling alley and recreation center was reopened last week as a banquet room and named Veterans Gallery in their honor.

Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough led a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the renovated depot Wednesday, 68 years after Japan surrendered to the Allies.

Attending the ceremony was St. Paul resident Karen Bruning, who spoke about the last time she saw her father, Dr. Carl Mattson, at the depot before he left for military assignment in the Philippines. Mattson, a surgeon, died in a plane crash in January 1945.

Thousands of servicemen and women left for the war from the depot, where the skylights were blackened to guard against air raids.

The Veterans Gallery, on the second floor above the concourse, has a banquet capacity of 75 people and is one of four depot rooms available for rent. The depot is owned by the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority.