100 Years In The History Of New York's Iconic Grand Central Terminal

grand central terminal exterior

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Grand Central Terminal is one of New York City’s most iconic landmarks, and today it turns 100 years old.The incredible feat of engineering originally debuted to the public as Grand Central Depot in October 1871, home to a massive steel and glass train shed that housed steam-driven trains. 

But after a fatal accident between two steam locomotives in 1902, the transportation hub was converted to a safer electric rail system.

Grand Central Station was demolished, and Grand Central Terminal was raised in its place, opening to the public on February 1, 1913. 

To celebrate its 100th birthday, here’s a look back at the birth, past, and present of one of the world’s greatest train stations.

Designed by John B. Snook, Grand Central Depot opened in 1871 and served three separate rail lines, each independently operated.

Each rail line had its own waiting room.

By 1900, it was known as Grand Central Station.

It was next to the Hotel Manhattan. This photo was taken between 1902 and 1906.

A 1902 train crash fuelled calls for electric trains, which led to the need for an expanded station. The design for Grand Central was selected in 1903. Here, ground is being excavated.

In the meantime, Grand Central Station continued to operate.

This 1912 postcard shows travellers on the ramp leading to the subway. Ramps like this one weave through the current terminal, so getting around with a rolling suitcase is easy.

Grand Central Station was torn down in phases, and replaced with Grand Central Terminal. On February 2, 1913, the new terminal opened.

150,000 people visited on its opening day.

Mounted on the exterior of the terminal, the statue of Mercury, Minerva, and Hercules weighs 1,500 tons and measures 66 feet in length.

During World War II, murals to encourage the purchase of war bonds were installed.

Here's part of a defence bond mural.

And a completed war bond mural, in 1941.

This is the interior of Schrafft's, a store in the terminal, in February 1954.

In 1957, the PGM-11 Redstone, an American ballistic missile, was displayed in the terminal.

Grand Central was almost demolished in the late 1960s, but a historic preservation movement, led by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, saved the iconic building.

In the 1990s, a massive restoration began, including the repair of the famous starry ceiling, which had suffered from decades of smoke.

An Apple store opened in the terminal in December 2011.

A lot has changed in the past century: There are no more porters outside Grand Central.

And people don't travel with large trunks like these anymore.

But Grand Central is still serving a key role as a transportation hub for New Yorkers and visitors to the Big Apple.

Now see what the future holds for Grand Central.

NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.