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Home > Archives > Boston South Station at twilight, 2016.

Boston South Station at twilight, 2016.

Color digital image showing Boston South Station from Dewey Square; image dates to December 14, 2016.

Boston South Station at twilight, 2016.

Boston South Station, located in the heart of the city’s Financial District, opened for passenger service on New Year’s Day 1899. Designed by the firm of Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, the Neoclassical Revival style headhouse features arched entryways, ionic columns, a central pediment and balustrades along the roof line. The monumental exterior clock, surrounded by carved decoration, is topped by an eight-foot high eagle.

Like many large passenger rail facilities, South Station suffered deferred maintenance in the mid-20th century, a time when the future of passenger trains seemed uncertain. In 1965 the Boston Redevelopment Authority purchased the building with the intention of redeveloping the site. Tracks were later removed and portions of the headhouse were closed or partially demolished.

Concerned citizens succeeded in listing South Station on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, halting further demolition. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority subsequently bought the facility in 1978 and undertook a multimillion dollar rehabilitation that also included construction of a new bus terminal and parking garage over the tracks.

Photographer: Chuck Gomez for Amtrak. From the Amtrak Corporate Collection.