Operating staff consulting with train engineer on platform, 1910.One of the greatest architectural and engineering achievements of its time, New York’s Pennsylvania Station opened to the public in 1910. Designed by renowned architect Charles McKim, the station was a massive civil engineering project, covering nearly eight acres and requiring the construction of 16 miles of underground tunnels. Alexander Cassatt, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, gambled millions of dollars to link the nation’s biggest railroad to America’s greatest city, but died bringing the station to life. No one could imagine that this architectural marvel built for the ages would be torn down a few decades later to make way for Madison Square Garden. Yet its destruction galvanized New York to form the Landmarks Preservation Commission, saving Grand Central Station and countless other historic structures.
American Experience: The Rise and Fall of Penn Station, Tuesday at 9 p.m. on PBS 6.