Grand Central Terminal

Image: Grand Central Depot, End view, 1871, Source: Library of Congress. 

On July 31, 1872, the delegates visited Grand Central Terminal. Kunitake Kume had previously found train depots plain and artless, but the newly constructed Grand Central terminal was beautiful, elegant and momentous. At it’s time of completion in 1871 it was the largest rail facility in the world. The designer Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), also the founder of Vanderbilt University and the Vanderbilt railroad empire, had set out to make the Grand Central an imposing symbol of glory and power. In many ways he succeeded, and the group was deeply impressed. The visit was another reminder of the importance of railroads in the lives of New Yorkers.


Kume, Kunitake. “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” Japan Rising: The Iwakura Embassy to the USA and Europe, edited by Chushichi Tsuzuki and R. Jules Young, 99. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511721144.

Schlichting, Kurt C. “The Commodore’s Grand Central.” Grand Central Terminal: Railroads, Engineering, and Architecture in New York City, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, 2001, pp. 30–32.