ADVERTISEMENT

Grand Central Terminal: The Centenary. A Look Back in Scientific American's Archives [Slide Show]

The new railroad terminal was heralded as the "Gateway to America's Greatest City" when it opened on February 1, 1913

1 of 10

PANORAMA OF THE GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL, NEW YORK, 1912:

This drawing (it looks like a photograph, but it’s a  drawing) of the new Grand Central Terminal was drawn for Scientific American by Chicago-based architectural illustrator Jules Guerin. It gives a grand view of the panorama around the new terminal looking north with Park Avenue behind the station.....[ More ]

ADVERTISEMENT CELEBRATING THE NEW TERMINAL, 1912:

The New York Central Lines railroad company had regular train service running between New York and Chicago. Their advertisement shows they wanted to be closely associated with the new railroad terminal and its symbolism of modernity and progress.....[ More ]

CROSS-SECTION DRAWING OF INTERCONNECTIONS, 1912:

You can get a sense of the scale of the soaring ceilings and grand proportions of the building, and also how the different parts of the building were connected with local and regional transport. The building had to accommodate up to 200,000 people a day flowing through it.....[ More ]

CROSS-SECTION DRAWING OF TRAIN AND PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC, 1912:

The station was designed to be impressive. No less difficult was the sheer scale of the number of people who had to move through the station every day from commuter rail lines and subway lines. In 1947 it was said that 65 million people went through the terminal in one year.....[ More ]

PROSPECTIVE VIEW OF THE GREAT WAITING ROOM, 1912:

European palaces had fancy rooms and chandeliers for their royal families. In the young United States of 1912, the ideals of Progress and Modernity were given the royal treatment with their own impressive rooms.....[ More ]

PROSPECTIVE VIEW OF THE EXPRESS CONCOURSE, 1912:

This noble design for the most important part of the terminal was designed with grand proportions and finished in very expensive Botticino marble. The ceiling was painted with a mural of constellations of stars (you can see the restored version of this ceiling today).....[ More ]

HEROIC SCULPTURE ON THE FAÇADE, 1914:

The sculpture group and the clock on the south side of the building overlooking 42nd Street is almost 50 feet tall. It shows the Roman god Mercury standing between Hercules and Minerva, symbolizing speed, strength and wisdom.....[ More ]

THE WORK IN PROGRESS, 1912:

This photograph of the façade--the outside of the new Grand Central Terminal--shows the architectural style of the building (a neoclassical “Beaux Arts” style) as it was still being built.....[ More ]

BUILDING GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL, 1912:

The old Grand Central Station was still being used by commuters--up to 100,000 every day, so it had to be torn down in small sections over a ten-year period as the new station was being built. This view of the construction site is looking south from 44th street and Vanderbilt Avenue in May 1911.....[ More ]

A RENDERING OF GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL, 1912:

This color drawing is titled “A Monumental Gateway to America’s Greatest City” and it shows how the new terminal would look when it opened. The new station took ten years to build, and when it opened on February 1, 1913, it was the largest station in the world (it still is).....[ More ]

risk free title graphic

YES! Send me a free issue of Scientific American with no obligation to continue the subscription. If I like it, I will be billed for the one-year subscription.

cover image Subscribe Now
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Share this Article:
Scientific American Back To School

Back to School Sale!

12 Digital Issues + 4 Years of Archive Access just $19.99

Order Now >

X

Email this Article



This function is currently unavailable

X