Park Street Subway Station, Boston (2)

Another view of the interior of the Park Street station, around 1898. Photo from The New England Magazine, Volume 25, Issue 5.


The station in 2015:


This photo was taken just across the center tracks from the photos in this post, standing on the edge of the outbound platform facing in the inbound direction.  The stairs in the very distance, which lead up to Boston Common, are the same ones visible in the other post.

As mentioned previously, Park Street is one of the two oldest subway stations in North America, having opened in 1897.  Today, the Green Line platform configuration remains mostly the same, with two island platforms surrounded by tracks on both sides.  The two center tracks lead to a turning loop, which can be used by inbound trains to reverse direction.  Both tracks along the outbound platform are served by all trains; Boston does not have express trains.

Park Street Subway Station, Boston (1)

The Park Street station, around the time that it opened in 1897. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.


The same view in 2014:


Although New York has by far the busiest subway system in the country, Boston’s actually came first.  The idea was to relieve congestion on Boston’s surface streets by putting trolleys underground.  Known as the Tremont Street Subway, trolleys entered the tunnel in two separate locations, at the corner of Arlington and Boylston Streets and at the corner of Tremont and Pleasant Streets.  The two lines converged at Boylston Station, and then continued up to Park Street.

Boylston and Park Street were the first two stations to be opened, on September 1, 1897, and consequently they are the oldest subway stations in North America.  The following year, the tunnel was extended to North Station.

Today, much of the original tunnel is still used by the MBTA Green Line, which still runs light rail trolleys, as opposed to the heavy rapid transit trains that Boston’s other subway lines operate.  The branch to Pleasant Street is closed south of Boylston, and the tunnel and stations north of Government Center (originally Scollay Square) have been substantially changed.

As far as the Park Street station, the overall platform configuration remains mostly the same as it was 117 years ago.  However, there have been a number of changes to the station, with probably the most significant one being the addition of the lower level in 1912 for the Red Line, as it is now known.  One of the stairways to the Red Line platforms is visible on the far left of the 2014 photo.  Today, it is one of the main hubs on the Green Line, and is the main transfer point between the Green and Red Lines.

As a side note, both photos were taken from the inbound platform. The station’s layout is unusual in that both platforms have tracks on both sides; these photos face across the two center tracks toward the outbound platform and the stairs leading up to Boston Common.

28th Street Subway Station (2)

Another view of the 28th Street station, around 1904. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.


The station in 2014:


One of the now-closed exit stairways in the 28th Street station. The first plot was probably taken around the time it opened, on October 27, 1904. Notice the mosaic of the station name to the left, which is still there after 110 years.

28th Street Subway Station (1)

The 28th Street subway station on the Lexington Avenue line, around the time that it opened in 1904. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.


The station in 2014:


The 28th Street station on the Lexington Avenue Line was part of New York’s first subway line. The station opened on October 27, 1904, and the first photo was probably taken around that time.  Notice the lack of turnstiles – when the subway first opened, employees would stand at the entrance (between the curved iron railings on the right-hand side) and collect fares. Also, the station originally had separate stairways for entering and exiting – exiting passengers didn’t need to pass back through the fare collection area. Overall, not much looks the same today, although the mosaics on the walls are still there. Otherwise, the changes seem to be for the worse, although I’m sure the present-day photo would look far better than a photo from the 1970s or 80s.

On a different note, I am fairly certain that these two photos show the same platform (uptown), but it is difficult to distinguish the two with any degree of certainty, so the 1904 photo could actually be of the downtown platform. Either way, they look almost identical, so a photo of either one would still accurately reflect the changes over the past 110 years.

Subway Station 23rd Street & Lexington Ave, New York City

The entrance to the 23rd Street subway station on Lexington Avenue, around 1905. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.


The station entrance in 2014:


The subway station is still there, but the elaborate entrance and exit kiosks are long gone.  The 23rd Street station was opened in 1904, along the Lexington Avenue Line, the first subway line in New York.  In the intervening years, this intersection has remained remarkably unchanged, even down to the “East 23rd Street” lettering on the corner of the building above the station entrance.