Richard Zampella Shannon Mulholland
Penn Station, New York Set
The Old Penn Station:
Cassatt envisioned a grand terminal that would welcome passengers to New York at the new terminus of the Pennsylvania line. He enlisted the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White to design a massive station inspired by the grand train stations of Europe. The resulting structure was in the Beaux-Arts style and widely heralded as an architectural achievement. This station would stand for hardly more than fifty years, however; under financial pressure from declining train ridership by the 1950s, the Pennsylvania Railroad sold the air rights above the property, and demolition of the original station began in 1963.
Though assorted protests took place, there was little organized resistance to the demolition of Pennsylvania Station. The destruction was a catalyzing factor in the development of the modern historic preservation movement. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission was created in 1965, and is credited with preventing a similar fate for Grand Central Terminal.