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Documenting the Northeast Corridor (Part 2)


January 14, 2013

Enjoy these additional aerial images of the Northeast Corridor taken by Historic American Engineering Record photographer Jack Boucher in April 1977. To learn more about the background of this important photo documentation project, see last week’s post.


HAER No. MA-19-30: In the late 1980s, Boston South Station was completely rehabilitated; work included restoration of the landmark headhouse, reconstruction of station tracks with high level platforms and the construction of a new bus terminal and parking garage over the tracks. At the bottom of the photograph, One Financial Center is under construction; the skyscraper opened in 1983 and is one of the city’s tallest towers. In the upper left hand corner is the Federal Reserve Bank Building, completed in the same year (1977) this photograph was taken.


HAER No. RI-19-8: A century after its completion in 1875, the Kingston, R.I. depot was in a state of disrepair as Amtrak took over responsibility for the nation’s intercity passenger rail system. In 1973, local residents formed a volunteer group, the “Friends of Kingston Station,” to refurbish the building. The group again leapt into action following a 1988 fire that substantially damaged the roof. Today, the Friends run a museum in the depot, teach children about railroad safety, oversee a “Young Railroaders” club and welcome travelers throughout the year.

HAER-New London

HAER No. CT-11-114: New London Union Station, designed by Henry Hobson Richardson and opened in 1889, was purchased by a group of investors in 1975. They proceeded with a full rehabilitation of the landmark, whose exterior features dazzling brickwork. The station sits at the head of the Parade, a public plaza embellished by the town’s Civil War memorial. This public gathering space was recently redesigned with new landscaping, amphitheater seating and a fountain featuring a whale’s tail.

HAER-Old Saybrook

HAER No. CT-11-91: In the mid-1980s, five acres owned by Amtrak around the 1873 Old Saybrook station were redeveloped as the Saybrook Junction Marketplace. Built east of the station, the complex contains shops and offices in a setting meant to evoke the best qualities of a New England village. This project was one of the first instances in which Amtrak allowed a private developer to take out a long term lease on one of its properties in an effort to create a more attractive and active transportation hub.

HAER-New Haven

HAER No. CT-11-61: An important transfer point between Amtrak and commuter rail services such as Metro-North Railroad and the Shore Line East Railroad, New Haven Union Station opened in 1920. Amid the bankruptcy of Penn Central, the station closed in the early 1970s and talk of demolition followed. Although concerned citizens worked to have the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, its fate remained uncertain until the federal government agreed to fund extensive improvements under the Northeast Corridor Improvement Project.

HAER-Wilmington Station

HAER No. DE-21-10: Completed in 1908, the Wilmington, Del. station was designed for the Pennsylvania Railroad by famed Philadelphia architect Frank Furness. To the right of the station, which surrounds the viaduct, is a railroad office building; the bridge linking the two structures has since been removed. At the bottom of the photo, the surface parking lot is now occupied by a multi-level garage whose styling echoes that of the historic station complex.

HAER-Wilmington Shops

HAER No. DE-21-16: At the dawn of the 20th century, the Pennsylvania Railroad decided to elevate the right-of-way through downtown Wilmington, Del. This also meant that the repair shops along the Christina River waterfront would have to be relocated. Construction on a new maintenance facility began in 1903 at Todd’s Cut, about two miles north of the new downtown station. Amtrak took over the shops with the purchase of the NEC, and they remain in use today.

HAER-Washington Union Station

HAER No. DC-3-4: As part of the same dispersal of Penn Central property through which Amtrak purchased the NEC, Amtrak also gained 50 percent ownership in the Washington Union Terminal Company. The grand headhouse of Washington Union Station, opened in 1908, is towards the top of the photo, just west of the Capitol. The construction behind the station is for a garage built over the tracks. The structure below the elevated roadway and to the left is the former Railway Express Agency building.

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