Tuesday, January 4, 2011

South Station Post-New Haven

The gullible John Sheridan has carelessly given me the keys to the castle here at The South Station Project. For my first blog post, I'd thought I'd dredge the internet for some South Station photos, showing some of the changes over the years. For this post, all images are from the NERAIL Photo Archive, in chronological order.

South Station was slowly nibbled away after the station was sold to the Boston Redevelopment Authority in 1965. In fact, it was due to be razed entirely before the preservationist movement saved the day and the station. Instead, it was transferred to the MBTA in August, 1979. South Station was the subject of a massive reconstruction project in the mid-1980's where they rationalized the track plan for modern trains and fixed up the rest of the headhouse. They actually built a new Atlantic Ave. wing to take place of the old one that was knocked down, even going so far as to re-open the granite quarries from the original contstruction so as to match it perfectly.

South Station, September 1973 photo by Bruce S. Nelson

As we can see above, the USPS brick building is in place, eating up almost half the yard tracks. Also, the Atlantic Ave. wing of the station (on the left) has been cut back already. The high track weeds are a common Penn Central affliction.

South Station, May 1977 photo by Robert B. Clere

From Summer St. across Dewey Square, one can see how much of the headhouse is missing. Behind the headhouse on the left is the Stone & Webster building looming over the area. This glass & steel building supplanted around half of the headhouse's square footage. On the right behind the tree, one can see white "columns" of the original USPS South Postal Annex, which was built over the high-numbered tracks.

South Station, 1980 photo by Bill McCaffrey

One can see just how big the Stone & Webster building is on the right, and the new Boston Federal building (the washboard) is in the background. Pretty amazing how much the city skyline changed from the above 1973 picture.

South Station, 1985 photo by Peter Kingman

A rare shot of the 1984-1988 reconstruction project. This is the underground commuter station that was never used. The roof monitors are for the Midway, and one can see the old butterfly shed supports at the roof edge. The entire area above the underground tunnel was covered with a corrigated metal deck, some of which is visible here as a pattern on the beam between the levels.

South Station, 1986 photo by Peter B. Kingman

More during the reconstruction project, showing that the lower numbered tracks are out of service and the butterfly sheds & Midway are gone. All the windows are boarded up, and from personal memory, the inside wasn't much better. A fire at the Club Car bar didn't help, either. I just remember as a kid lots of pigeons, plywood, and grime.

South Station, 1988 photo by Peter B. Kingman

Almost done, with only a small pile of rubble visible on the right. The new highlevel platforms are in place, along with the new waiting room taking the place of the old Midway.

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