"The Tubes: Rails Under the Hudson, 1874 to the Present-day PATH" is the new exhibit at the Hoboken Historical Museum that delves into the perils, innovation, and spectacle of the sub-aqueous tunnels that commuters pass through every day.
"These tunnels are one of the engineering marvels of their day," said Bob Foster, the director of the Hoboken Historical Museum. "But as far I know there has never been a show on the topic."
museum's newest exhibit presents the story of the Hudson &
Manhattan Railroad "tubes," which became the Port
Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) trains after the Holland Tunnel
completion forced the H&M company to go bankrupt.
The exhibit chronicles the political and personal forces that brought about the tubes' development, the engineering advances that made their construction possible, and the ways in which the tunnels changed the lives of residents on both sides of the river.
"It's really an amazing exhibit," said Leon Yost, who loaned several pictures that are displayed, and is a member of the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy, a group that is co-sponsoring the exhibit. "A lot of people don't realize all the work that went into the present day PATH system."
Terry Kennedy, the exhibit's guest curator, has loaned for exhibition numerous rare artifacts from his collection of photographs, blueprints, postcards, and signs.
According to information supplied by Kennedy, on Nov. 17, 1874, several years before construction of the Brooklyn Bridge began, workers - often referred to as "sandhogs" - began building a tunnel underneath the Hudson River. With $10 million in financing and a freshly issued patent in hand, railroading tycoon and former Army Colonel DeWitt Clinton Haskin began digging a circular hole at the foot of 15th Street in Jersey City.
Wasn't always safe
But the task of building a train tunnel 60 to 90 feet below
the surface of the water with little more than shovels and
handheld picks was time-consuming and tremendously dangerous.
Workers entered the tunnel from a caisson, an inverted box,
through an air lock, waited for the atmosphere to be
artificially pressurized, then opened the tunnel door for
Opened in 1908
Finally, on Feb. 25, 1908, Hudson and Manhattan Railroad
Company's first tube service ran through the uptown pair of
tunnels between Hoboken and 19th Street in Manhattan. The New
York and New Jersey governors attended the opening, and in the
exhibit there are several remarkable photos of the event,
showing thousands of well-dressed onlookers.
Guest lectures and presentations
|ŠThe Hoboken Reporter 2003 http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=6893233&BRD=1292&PAG=461&dept_id=152072&rfi=6|