Alfred Ely Beach: Difference between revisions

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During this same time, other investors had built an [[elevated railway]] at [[Greenwich Street]] and [[Ninth Avenue (Manhattan)|Ninth Avenue]], which operated successfully with a small steam engine starting in 1870. This elevated railway gave an Idea to [[James Henry Greathead]] for the [[Docker's Umbrella]] in [[Liverpool]] which, was a similar idea for an overhead railway for the purpose of easing congestion on the ground in England. The wealthy property owners did not object to the New York City railway well away from Broadway, and by the mid-1870s it appeared that elevated railways were practical and underground railways were not, setting the pattern for rapid transit development in New York City for the remaindet of the 19th century.<ref name="walker" />
 
Beach operated his demonstration railway from February 1870 to April 1873. It had one station in the basement of Devlin's clothing store, a building at the southwest corner of Broadway and Warren Street, and ran for a total of about 300 feet, first around a curve to the center of Broadway and then straight under the center of Broadway to the south side of [[Murray Street])].<ref name="beach_opening"/> The former Devlin's building was destroyed by fire in 1898.<ref name=fire>"New York Times", "New York Herald", "The World", "New York Tribune", Dec 5, 1898.</ref> In 1912 workers for Degnon Contracting excavated the tunnel proper during the construction of a subway line running under Broadway. The tunnel was completely within the limits of the present day [[City Hall (BMT Broadway Line)|City Hall]] station under Broadway.<ref name=tunnel>Walker (above), and "Scientific American", Feb 24, 1912 and September 7, 1912, and "New York Times", Feb 9, 1912.</ref> The British pneumatic tube also failed to attract much attention and eventually fell into disrepair and disrepute in spite of the fact that [[Royal Mail]] had contracted to use the tunnels. Ultimately the English experiment failed due to technical issues as well as lack of funds.
 
Much of the Beach subway story was recalled as precedent by [[Lawrence Edwards]] in his lead article of the August 1965 issue of Scientific American, which described his invention of [[Gravity-Vacuum Transit]].<ref name=Lawrence_Edwards>"Scientific American", August 1965.</ref>