A century ago, rail travel was at its peak in the U.S., and New York City built the massive Grand Central Terminal to accommodate the growth. Built over 10 years, gradually replacing its predecessor named Grand Central Station, the Grand Central Terminal building officially opened on February 2, 1913. The terminal and the surrounding neighborhood thrived -- by 1947, 65 million people a year were traveling through the building. However, in the latter half of the 20th century, rail travel declined sharply, and Grand Central Terminal fell into disrepair, threatened several times with demolition. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority was able to undertake a huge restoration in the 1990s, and Grand Central remains a New York City icon today, 100 years after it first opened.
Sunlight streams through the windows in the concourse at Grand Central Terminal in New York City in 1954.
Excavation work at the site of Grand Central Station in New York City, in 1908. Click here to see an extra-large (8,000px wide) version of this image.
(Reuters/Courtesy of Library of Congress)
People sleep sitting and lying down at Grand Central Terminal's main waiting room in New York, during a massive power failure, on November 9, 1965. The area is lit with emergency lighting. The blackout affected New York State, most of New England, parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada.
(AP Photo/John Lent)
The 20th Century Limited gets ready to leave Grand Central Station in New York for its last run, on December 2, 1967. The 20th Century Limited was an express passenger train that ran between between Grand Central Terminal and LaSalle Street Station in Chicago, operated by the New York Central Railroad from 1902 until 1967.
(AP Photo/John Duricka)
The clock above the Grand Central Terminal Information Booth, with faces made of opal, ticks on the day before the famed Manhattan transit hub turns 100 years old on January 31, 2013 in New York City. The terminal opened in 1913 and is the world's largest terminal covering 49 acres with 33 miles of track. Each day 700,000 people pass through the terminal where Metro-North Railroad operates 700 trains per day.
(Mario Tama/Getty Images)
An estimated 450 women pose nude inside Grand Central Station, on October 26, 2003 as part of artist Spencer Tunick's latest New York installation. Participants meet at a specific location and time, strip off their clothing and then have naked bodies composed into sculptural shapes and formations that build on features of streets, buildings and cityscapes.
When these chandeliers were installed a century ago, they carried bare, energy-hungry incandescent bulbs. Today they use efficient compact fluorescent bulbs that use just 5 watts to provide the same amount of light as the previous 25-watt bulbs. Each chandelier holds 110 light bulbs.
(Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)
The Chrysler Building stands above a statue of Mercury perched above the Tiffany clock at Grand Central Terminal, on January 31, 2013 in New York City. The terminal opened in 1913 and is the world's largest terminal covering 49 acres with 33 miles of track. Each day 700,000 people pass through the terminal where Metro-Noth Railroad operates 700 trains per day.
(Mario Tama/Getty Images)