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Grand-Central-Depot-Vintage-1880-exteriorGrand Central Depot, 1880 with horse-drawn carriages waiting to pick up arriving passengers

The Grand Central Terminal of today stands as a beautiful and iconic building. It has its fair share of mysteries and secrets, and nearly had a completely different look. However, besides its name changing from depot to station to terminal, Grand Central has actually undergone some vast changes since its beginning as Grand Central Depot in 1871.

It was originally built with two tracks reaching north to Harlem from the station at 42nd street, as steam locomotives were not allowed past that point by law.

Grand-Central-Depot-Vintage-Stereo-1870Grand Central Depot, interior tracks the year of its construction

As the population swelled in NYC, the station’s two tracks struggled to keep up with the daily commute as it was the only rail system to enter Manhattan.

Grand Central Terminal-Manhattan-NYC-Untapped Cities-Lost Landmarks-Tour-HistoryConstruction on Grand Central Station

The building around the train shed was torn to the ground and a larger six-story structure was put in its stead. Completed in 1900, this would nominally be the first Grand Central Station.

1900-Grand-Central-Station-vintage-UntappedGrand Central ca. 1900


Grand Central Station

This building stood until 1902 when two trains suffered a head-on collision, killing 15 people. This catastrophe led to a public outcry against steam locomotives and a subsequent restructuring of the station.

One of the few photos of the crash’s aftermath

The trains were changed to be electrically run, allowing them to run underground and to stack ingoing and outgoing trains. Construction of the new building—the one that stands today—finished in 1913. While the subway is technically still a station, the main building was named Grand Central Terminal as it was the end of the train lines.

Grand-Central-Terminal-Construction-1912-Untapped-CitiesConstruction of the new Terminal, 1912

Grand-Central-Terminal-Vintage-1913-Untapped-CitiesTerminal Exterior, one year later

Grand-Central-Terminal-Suburban-Concourse-1912-vintage-untapped-citiesA man standing in a newly completed subterranean concourse, 1912

Grand-Central-Terminal-Interior-1913-vintage-Untapped-CitiesGrand Central Terminal west balcony, taken between 1913 and 1930

Grand-Central-Terminal-Interior-Vintage-Untapped-CitiesGrand Central Station Interior, 1954

The author can be contacted via Twitter @jimipage26

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