Boston's South Station, was built in 1899 to combine the services of five passenger lines converging in the city. By the time the station was completed, it was the largest in the world, accommodating 40 million passengers annually. The initial project included the main headhouse building, built by architects Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge, and a nearby train shed for boarding. The headhouse was built in a Neoclassical Revival-style and was filled with spectacular ornamentation that is still visible today, from the marble floor mosaics to the Station's defining clock, 12-feet wide and topped by an eagle with an eight-foot wingspan.
After a period of post-war decline, South Station began to deteriorate. Bt the 1960s, many of the rail companies initially involved in the station had declared bankruptcy and the station remained underutilized. In 1965, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) purchased the building and began to disassemble the building. The demolition garnered attention from a number of local groups determined to save the celebrated structure and by 1975, South Station was added to the National Register of Historical Places. At this time, the station continued to serve commuter rail and Amtrak service, and the decision was made to sell the station to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. In 1984, the MBTA began a $195 million dollar restoration project that was ultimately completed in 1989. The project improved the station's transit infrastructure and public amenities, making South Station an impressive entrance to the city of Boston.
Today, South Station features local restaurants, community programming, and access to the plethora of transportation options available in the city. In addition to serving Amtrak and commuter rail services, South Station connects downtown Boston to the subway and Silver Line service, providing a direct link to Logan International Airport. South Station has the highest passenger volume of any rail station in New England and is the sixth busiest train station in the Amtrak system with over 1.4 million annual boardings. The Red Line/Silver Line Concourse, where the WTS Public Art will be located, sees 57,000 commuters on an average weekday.
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