8. Where the Holland Tunnel Gets Its Name

The Holland Tunnel NYC Vintage photography Untapped cities Sabrina RomanoHolland Tunnel. Photo from Library of Congress

The Holland Tunnel doesn’t get its name from the Netherlands. The New Jersey Interstate Bridge and Tunnel Commission and the New York State Bridge and Tunnel Commission starting planning for a connector in 1906 and began work on the tunnel in 1920. During its development, the Holland Tunnel was quite practically referred to as the Hudson River Vehicular Tunnel or the Canal Street Tunnel.

Many architectural models were proposed but a design by Clifford Millburn Holland was selected. The plan featured two tunnels, each with two lanes. The two halves of the tunnel were supposed to link on October 28, 1924. The day before the scheduled connection, Holland died of a heart attack. The New York Times linked his death to stress from the tunnel’s construction. The events of the day, which were to include a remote detonation by President Coolidge, were cancelled in his honor, and then tunnel was named after him less than a month later.