Grand Central Terminal opened at midnight on February 2, 1913 and was the very first all-electric station. During a time when light bulbs were an extravagance, GCT was outfitted with 4,000. In 2008 they were replaced with fluorescents, which helps save roughly $200,000 a year (although it took six full-time workers to make the swaps).
Other advances along the way have drawn a close parallel to the changing technology in the United States as well. For example, the departures on display were once manually-operated flip panels. Now, LCD screens update the station's 750,000 daily tarvelers with times, locations and any unforeseen delays or cancellations due to bad weather or train mainenance.
At one point, plans were made to tear down GCT and put a Marcel Breuer skyscraper in its place. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission fought against the demolition and in December 1976, the National Register of Historic Places declared the station a national historic landmark.
Not only is Grand Central a tribute to the changing tech times, the building also has many secrets that reflect very interesting periods in American history. During World War II, for instance, a hidden platform was built for Franklin D. Roosevelt so that he could travel unseen from GCT to an area beneath the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The train was specially designed to conceal FDR's disability and is still parked under the station. There's also a classified area called M42 ten floors under GCT accessible by a 100-year-old elevator. According to CNN:
"The room — named after Grand Central's 42nd Street location — houses a series of rotary converters, which, back in the 1930s, provided the power that electrified the terminal's 63 tracks. During World War II, these tracks linked thousands of shaven grunts and other instruments of war to the ports that would ship them out to the front lines."
See more of this awesome, historied biulding in our gallery below.