It's hard to believe that this beautiful heap of Beaux Arts majesty is 100 years old. But sure enough, Grand Central Terminal opened its doors to the commuting masses at midnight on Feb. 2, 1913, and soon became a world-renowned icon of transportation and capitalist might. In honor of Grand Central's birthday, we take you back in time with 12 early, black-and-white snapshots of a timeless building, as well as the millions of busy travelers who have passed through it.
Work in progress: Grand Central was actually the third station to be constructed on 42nd Street. It was preceded by Grand Central Depot (1871) and Grand Central Station (1900), both of which were eventually demolished. With the help of the Vanderbilt family, Grand Central Terminal was built on a 48-acre site that is worth some $2 billion today. Here, the structure nears completion in 1912. (AP Photo)
Rush hour: Top-hatted and cloaked businessmen, as well as a few women, pass through Grand Central's concourse shortly after it was opened to the public. (CC BY:The Library of Congress)
The finished product: A 1950s view of the terminal. The world's largest Tiffany clock, measuring 14 feet in diameter, sits at the center of the main south-facing sculpture — which includes statues of Hercules, Mercury, and Minerva — at the terminal's 42nd Street entrance. (AP Photo)
In wartime: The main concourse is crowded with people on Dec. 14, 1941, during the unveiling of a government mural above the mezzanine level that encouraged Americans to buy savings bonds and stamps in support of the war. Down the hallway to the right, an archway points travelers toward the nearest telegraph — how quaint! (AP Photo)
"Shine soldier?": Members of the National Boys' Club offer Victory shoe shines to every man and woman in uniform in Grand Central's USO Lounge on April 6, 1943. (AP Photo/Dan Grossi)
Grab a bite: A waitress serves customers at the coffee shop section in the Liggett Drug Store on March 13, 1946. (AP Photo)
Going nowhere fast: A frustrated traveler sits on her suitcase in front of the closed information booth during a rail strike on May 27, 1946. (Keystone/Getty Images)
Mad men: A salesman circa 1950 peruses his briefcase in the light of the main concourse. Today, some 750,000 visitors pass through the building daily. (Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)
It's all about the hose: A well-stocked, brightly lit hosiery shop located in Grand Central's underground subway station attracts customers on the go on Feb. 13, 1962. (AP Photo)
A mournful gathering: Thousands crowd into the concourse to watch President John F. Kennedy's funeral live on a large-screen TV on Nov. 25, 1963. Despite the crowd, the terminal maintained a church-service quiet as Americans mourned their slain president. (AP Photo)
Passing through: A view of Grand Central's interior after the morning rush on Jan. 9, 1968. (AP Photo)
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