Album of photographs showing construction of the cable road on Broadway, New York City, in 1891

Collection Data

Photographer C. C. Langill worked in partnership with William Gray on these 55 albumen print photographs documenting the long-gone cable road on Broadway. Built in 1891, the Broadway Cable Railroad ran north along Broadway, from Bowling Green at the southern end of Manhattan, uptown to 36th Street. This early form of mass transit operated by means of two giant cables (powered by centrally positioned steam engines), which ran just below street level, pulling the cable cars along the track at a steady 30 miles per hour. Unfortunately, the underground cables-and hence the trains themselves-could not be slowed down at all, even when turning corners; the sharp turn at Union Square (at 14th Street) became known as Dead Man's Curve for hurling passengers around as it navigated the bend. Constant accidents and numerous breakdowns ensured the rapid demise of the Broadway Cable Railroad.
Langill, C. C. (Photographer)
Gray, William, active approximately 1890-1900 (Photographer)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1891
Place: New York
Library locations
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection
Shelf locator: MFZ+ (Langill) 82-435
Broadway (New York, N.Y.)
Street-railroads -- New York (State) -- New York
Railroads, Cable -- New York (State) -- New York
Railroad construction & maintenance
New York (N.Y.)
Physical Description
Albumen prints
Extent: 55 photographs : albumen; 15 x 21 to 21 x 26 cm
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b10753250
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 5a39e290-c6f5-012f-5a89-58d385a7bc34
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