Grand Central Terminal Celebrating its Centennial!
Grand Central Terminal is getting ready to celebrate its 100th birthday! It may be hard to believe but the world famous transporation mecca located in the epicenter of Manhattan first started helping getting people to their destinations back on Feb. 2, 1913. To mark this occassion, don't miss our special half-hour program at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16, looking back at all the moments in the terminals history that have made it the city jewel that is today. Here are a few of those milestone moments…
1831: Building towards the Future
In 1831 the New York and Harlem Railroad were the first rail line formed in Manhattan. A year later it began to service to a station at Fourth Ave and 23rd St. In 1836 the New York and Harlem Railroad State was built and serviced the entire blocked bounded by 4th and Madison Avenues and 26th and 27th Streets.
1858: A Calling for a New Terminal
Toward the end of the decade the Hudson River Railroad was built precipitating the beginning of terminals, depots, freight houses, and passenger stations through the city. As the late 1850's steam locomotives had been progressively banned from crowded areas and were no longer in service below 42nd Street. This soon became a demand for the need of a new terminal.
1868: Grand Central Terminal Expands
Cornelius Vanderbilt purchased the Hudson River Railroad in 1860's which then he created a link between Spuyten Duyvil and Mott Haven, allowing the Hudson River train to arrive at common east side terminal. Toward the late 1860's and early 1870's The Grand Central Station Terminal was expanding. Vanderbilt purchased property between 42nd and 48th streets, Lexington and Madison Avenue for construction of a new train depot and rail yard which would contain the first Grand Central.
1971: Designing the Terminal
Grand Central Depot, designed by John B. Snook, was built at a cost of $6.4 M. Virtually out of date at the time it opened it was able to serve three distinct rail lines.The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, New York and Harlem Railroad, and the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad maintained its own waiting room, baggage facilities and ticketing operation at the station. P.T. Barnum purchased the New York and Harlem Railroad station and converted it into Madison Square Garden, the first of several structures to share that historic name. The Grand Central Stations Terminal most outstanding feature was it massive train shed. Created out of glass and steel, the 100- foot wide by 650-foot long structure challenged the Eiffel Tower and Crystal Palace for dominance as the most dramatic engineering achievement of the 19th century. The modernized station also featured a unified 16,000 square foot waiting room, and distinctive decoration that included monumental cast-iron eagles with wingspans of 13-feet.
1902: The decline of Steam Locomotive Trains
In 1902 the era of the steam locomotive was coming to an end. A devastating train collision in the Park Avenue tunnel on January 8th, 1902 killed seventeen people and injured thirty-eight, causing a public outcry and increasing demand for electric trains. One week after the horrific crash New York Central and Hudson River Railroad starting to become proactive and announced to the public that they are moving forward with the plans to improve the Park Avenue tunnel and expand Grand Central. By the end of the year, plans were in development, spearheaded by chief engineer William J. Wilgus to demolish the existing station and create a new double level terminal for electric trains.
1903: Competition Arises
Succeeding to the competition, New York architects Warren and Wetmore presented the selection committee with their own proposal for the terminal. Warren succeeded in his appeal. The following year, Warren and Wetmore and Reed and Stem entered an agreement to act as the associated architects of Grand Central Terminal. It took ten expensive years of excavation and construction. The railroad needed to invest in electrifying its rails, and carve deep into Manhattan's core. The grade of the rail yard had been lowered to an average depth of 30 feet below street level.
1913: New York City Changed for the Better
Over the next couple of years the Grand Central Terminal was finally born and was ready to serve its purpose to the public. At 12:01 am on Sunday, February 2, 1913 the Grand Central Station service more than 150,000 people. Even thought the construction was not complete New York were enthusiastic to welcome the terminal knowing that New York City would be changed forever.
1947: Grand Central Terminal is popular demand!
Soon Grand Central Terminal was not just ordinary terminal. It hosted an art gallery, art school, newsreel Movie Theater, a rail history museum, and other exhibitions as well. Grand Central Terminal became the busiest train station in the country. As the 1940's was wrapping up over 65 million people which was 40% of the population of the United States traveled the rails using Grand Central Terminal.
1967: Grand Central Terminal is a Landmark
On August 2, 1967, New York City's recently established Landmarks Preservation Commission formed in response to the demolition of Pennsylvania Station designated Grand Central Terminal as a landmark, subject to the protection of law. The decision ensured the terminal's safety. One year later Penn Central filed an $8 million lawsuit against the city of New York, which was blocking the renovation.
1976: City Leader Save the Terminal
City leaders, including Jacqueline Kennedy, Onassis, and Brendan Gill, rallied against changes to Grand Central Terminal. In December 1976, the national register of historic places named Grand Central Terminal as a national historic landmark.
1976: Rebuild and Restore
After decades of postponing maintance to the terminal malfuntions started to arise. The roof leaked, structural steel was rusted, and pollution and dirt had stained the surfaces. This forced Grand Central Terminal to be refurbished.
2012: Grand Central Terminal a hot spot destination
As reinstallation and renovation progressed the project gave 2,000 construction related jobs throughout New York State. With this new restoration brought so much new and exicting feature. There were Five exquisite restaurants and cocktail lounges, 20 casual eateries in the lower level dining concourse, gourmet foods from Grand Central Market and 50 unique specialty shops throughout the concourses, all in addition to transportation. Soon Grand Central Terminal was restored about to it old setting and became a key destination tourist and nativies would use in New York.