The 1944 modernization of Boston's South Station


Architects: Densmore, LeClear & Robbins, Boston, Mass. 

General Contractor: Sawyer Construction Company, Boston, Mass.

Services: Boston & Albany: New York. New Haven & Hartford

The modernization program of South Station took plate at a cost of $2500000, transforming the old "Midway" into beautiful concourse with renovated terminal facilities.

Planning of improvements was carried out under the general direction of the Building Committee of the Boston Terminal Company. A. S. Tuttle, engineer of the Terminal Company and construction engineer of the New Haven, working with G.. A. Kirley, then chief engineer of theBoston & Albany, directed the work. This beautifully renovated Ttrminal is now one of the finest on the East coast.

Structural Details and Facilities 

When built in 1898 the Station consisted of a stone-brick front office building running about 700 feet along Summer Street and 700  feet along Atlantic Avenue. In the remodeling process the office unit was not altered. Almost all of the changes were made in the concourse and main passenger facilities.

A rather unusual feature is the Motion Picture Theatre extending along the south end of the concourse. It seats 600 people on a ramped floor. 

The old midway was covered by a timber roof. with a series of transverse skylights, and supported on exposed structural steel trusses. This midway was completely revamped into a modern enclosed concourse. 


The brick face of the interior walls in the concourse was replaced by a high marble wainscot. Etched aluminum trim was used at all wall openings and above the marble counters at the ticket windows and concessions. 

The old steelwork of the roof structure was hidden by a plaster ceiling of heavy beam construction in appearance and suspended from new. light trusses. 

The old mastic floor was replaced by a 2-color terrazzo tile floor in large square patterns.

The entire track side of the concourse was enclosed with double sliding glazed aluminum doors at each entrance to the track platforms. 

All walls above marble wainscot are plaster and painted a cream color. 

Clusters of lights. recessed in the concourse ceiling and supple-mented by many other lights in concessions, were installed to provide the Station with ample light. 

The Restaurant. Ticket Offices. Lunch Room. Parcel and Baggage Rooms were completely changed to improve their facilities and modernize their design. 

The electric, remotely-controlled train-announcing system was said to be the first of its kind installed in the country. This announcing board was placed in the main concourse, close to the control station in the center of the concourse. 

A new heating and ventilation system was provided, the air being forced into the concourse through aluminum grillages. 

Self-service Parcel Checking Lockers were arranged in a pattern to provide ready access to their facilities without blocking busy traffic lanes. Forty-four were placed in the parcel room lobby near the Post Office entrance. In the vestibule by the main entrance. 96 lockers were placed against the outer wall of the Barber Shop. The Waiting Room took a total of 36 Parcel Checking Lockers with 20 close to the ticket office. 8 by the women's room, and the remaining 8 directly opposite. 

The Summer Street entrance took a total of 64 Self-service Parcel Checking Lockers. Of this number, 16 were placed by the Waiting Room entrance; 16 by the Lunch Room entrance; two sections of 8 lockers each faced the lobby, with equal numbers backed against these sections and facing the concourse. 

Near the concourse entrance to the Lunch Room. 16 Parcel Checking Lockers were placed and the final group of 120 lockers were situated in the middle of the concourse floor between train gates and the Restaurant and Lunch Room. 

The combined total of all Parcel Checking Lockers in the terminal is 376. 

This $2.500.000 renovation of South Station has brought Boston hack into the front rank of transportation leaden. The complete renovation project has served just as efficiently as a new construction job might have done, by modernizing and beautifying a terminal that had for years been the country's busiest and best. 


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