Photo Gallery: Grand Central Through The Years

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deadly accident at the old Grand Central Depot in 1902 led the busy terminal to be redesigned. Over a decade, William Wilgus and his construction crews sunk the tracks underground and switched from steam to electric service -- keeping the trains running the whole time.

From steam engine depot to the grand Beaux Arts monument that opened in 1913 and stands today, explore this gallery of photographs of Grand Central. It features several images from the mid-20th century taken by Boris Y. Klapwald.

http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_01.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_01_t.jpg|

Steam driven trains snake into the 19th-century Grand Central Depot. Its train yard extended from 42nd Street to 56th Street.

|Collection of the New York Historical Society;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_02.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_02_t.jpg|

Railroad tycoon Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt's old Grand Central Depot, seen from Vanderbilt Place and 42nd Street in 1871, the year it opened.

|Getty Images;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_03.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_03_t.jpg|

The iron and glass train shed at the old Grand Central Depot featured massive arches -- the biggest in the United States at the time.

|Frank English/MTA Metro-North Railroad;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_04.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_04_t.jpg|

When Grand Central was rebuilt in the early 20th century, crews put in loop tracks so incoming trains could discharge passengers and pass around to the other side of the train yard for service.

|Avert Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University in the City of New York;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_05.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_05_t.jpg|

Grand Central's builders pioneered the concept of air rights. Engineer William Wilgus called it "taking wealth from the air." Once the New York Central's tracks were electrified and buried below street level, the space above was leased to real estate developers to pay for the entire project. Today, few who walk north on Park Avenue realize the tracks are below them.

|Frank English/MTA Metro-North Railroad;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_06.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_06_t.jpg|

This January 1912 photo of the new building's construction shows its massive steel frame.

|Collection of the New York Historical Society;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_07.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_07_t.jpg|

Architect Charles Reed devised the plan to raise up Park Avenue and wrap it around both sides of Grand Central Terminal.

|Library of Congress;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_08.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_08_t.jpg|

The enormous scale and ornate elegnace of Grand Central's interior tells visitors they have arrived. 

|Corbis Bettmann;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_09.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_09_t.jpg|

Like all train stations, Grand Central attracts a diversity of passengers. Its concourse floors are made of Tennessee marble.

|Boris Yale Klapwald courtesy of Brain Ink;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_10.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_10_t.jpg|

Reunions, farewells, and chance encounters are a part of daily life at Grand Central Terminal.

|Boris Yale Klapwald courtesy of Brain Ink;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_11.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_11_t.jpg|

The main concourse set a grand stage for this World War II defense bond campaign. 

|The New York Public Library, Astor Lenox and Tilden Foundations;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_12.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_12_t.jpg|

Grand Central Terminal was the departure point for many soldiers going to fight in World War II.

|Collection of the New York Historical Society;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_13.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_13_t.jpg|

The balcony of the main concourse was home to a "Service Men's Lounge" during World War II.

|Collection of the New York Historical Society;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_14.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_14_t.jpg|

Children wait and nap in the quiet of the elegant Main Waiting Room.

|Boris Yale Klapwald courtesy of Brain Ink;http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_15.jpg|http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/media/uploads/special_features/photo_gallery/grandcentral_gallery_15_t.jpg|

Grand Central's so-called Whispering Gallery has vaulted ceilings with Guastavino tiles. A whisper in one corner carries across the ceiling and can be heard in the opposite corner.

|Corbis Bettmann

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