Vintage Photograph of 1915 Subway Fire on Broadway and 55th Expertly Colorized

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Photo: Imgur

On January 6th, 1915, New York City saw its first Subway disaster when a small electrical fire near Broadway and 55th Street caused a blackout under the surrounding midtown stations and tunnels. While the damage from the fire was nothing more than the damaged wires, the smoke produced from the shorted wire’s insulation wrapping filled the darkened tunnels, prompting panic and a stampede that trampled women, children and men. One person was left dead, and over 200 more were injured as straphangers clamored over each other trying to escape the acrid smoke.

Reddit contributor kibblenbits recently downloaded a scan of the original photograph from the Library of Congress, then expertly colorized it using period specific hues and tones.

For more details on the “the worst disaster in the history of the New York subway” up to that date, check out the original 1915 article in the New York Times.

Matt Coneybeare

Matt Coneybeare

Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Matt enjoys exploring the City's food scene with his Wife and the outdoors with their three dogs. He is an avid marathon runner, and spends most of his time working from a treadmill desk at home.

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