Hudson Terminal Towers

Hudson Terminal included two 22-story Romanesque skyscrapers above the H&M station.[14]:326[67] The buildings were designed by Clinton and Russell architect James Hollis Wells and constructed by contractor George A. Fuller.[14]:326[19][56]:123 Purdy and Henderson was responsible for structural planning.[14]:437[56]:123 Located on what would become the site of the World Trade Center, Hudson Terminal’s skyscrapers preceded the future complex in size and function.[22] When the buildings were first opened, the height and appearance of the city’s skyscrapers were still hotly debated, being criticized for their volume and density. So many of the early 20th century skyscrapers were designed with towers, steeples, or domes above a dense base, while others were divided into two structures, such as the Hudson Terminal.
The complex occupied most of the lot bordered by Cortlandt Street to the south, Church Street to the east, and Fulton Street to the west, with the northernmost building addressed as 50 Church Street and the southernmost as 30 Church Street. Hudson Terminal was also close to several low-rise buildings to the west on Greenwich Street.[22] They were called the Fulton and Cortlandt buildings respectively, and were collectively called the Church Street terminal.[19][68] These buildings were separated by Dey Street, as the city government would not allow the street to be closed.


The Hudson Terminal buildings, along with 49 Chambers, were the first skyscrapers in the city to have an “H” shape, with courtyards inside providing light for the offices.[14]:392 The complex’s lot originally occupied it. a total area of ​​6,500 m2.[14]:326 According to the Engineering Record, the Fulton building occupied a plot of 48 by 47 m, while the Cortlandt building plot measured 65 by 52 m.[56]:121 However, the New-York Tribune published different measurements, 48 ​​by 55 m for the Fulton Building and 65 by 57 m for the Cortlandt Building.[19] By the mid-20th century, annexes had been added to both buildings, resulting in a combined total area of ​​7,971.3 m2.[27]
The design of the two buildings was similar. The first to third floors were parallelograms in the plan, with the buildings above the third floor assuming an “H” shape. The courtyards of both skyscrapers faced north and south, while the corridors on each floor of each building extended eastward along Church Street.[14]:326–327[70] The courtyard of the Cortlandt building spanned across the street. 9.8 by 23.2 m, while that of the Fulton building measured 14.6 by 9.8 m. The wings on each side of the courtyards were asymmetrically wide.[56]:121 The roofs of the buildings rose to a height of 84.05 m.[19][56]:121 Small “towers” with pitched roofs on both sides. buildings brought the total height to 93 m.


The facade of the skyscrapers was encased in Indiana limestone below the 50th-floor cornice, and with brick and terracotta from there.[19][60][67][56]:121 The original design included Doric columns beneath the roof cornice.[19] When built, the first four floors were made of polished granite and limestone; with each ground floor section made of glass. The top six floors of each building were covered in light-toned terracotta as per the original plan.[14]:328[60] The ends of each building also had strips of terracotta in the same shade. Arches connected three of the six upper floors.[14]:328 Due to the asymmetrical dimensions of the skyscrapers, the Fulton Building had eighteen spans facing Church Street and nineteen spans facing Dey Street, while the Cortlandt Building had twenty-eight spans. two stretches facing Church Street and twenty opposite Cortlandt Street.
The two buildings were connected by a pedestrian bridge above the street on the third floor of each building.[63] Another bridge connecting the 17th floor of both skyscrapers was approved and built in 1913, shortly after the complex opened.


Altogether, the buildings contained 16.3 million bricks, 13,000 lamps, 15,200 doors, 5,000 windows, and 4,100 tonnes of terracotta, as well as 120,000 m2 of partitions and 31,000 m3 of concrete arches. The buildings also had several kilometers of pipes, water and gas piping, wooden planks, moldings and electrical wiring.

Hudson Terminal

Hudson Terminal was a subway station and office building complex in the Radio Row neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, New York. Opened in 1908 and 1909, it was comprised of a terminal for the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad (H&M), and two 22-story office skyscrapers, plus three underground. The complex occupied much of a two-block lot bordered by Greenwich, Cortlandt, Church and Fulton streets, later the site of the World Trade Center.
The rail terminal consisted of five rail lines and six platforms serving H&M trains to and from New Jersey; these trains passed through the Downtown Hudson tunnels, under the Hudson River, heading west. The two 22-story skyscrapers above the terminal, the Fulton Building to the north and the Cortlandt Building to the south, were designed by architect James Hollis Wells of the firm Clinton and Russell in the Neo-Romanesque style. The underground floors included a shopping mall, an electrical substation, and baggage claim areas. The complex could accommodate 687,000 people a day, more than the original Pennsylvania Station in Midtown Manhattan.
The buildings were opened first, being the largest in office space when completed, while the terminal was opened later. H&M was successful until the mid-20th century, when it went bankrupt. The railroad and Hudson Terminal were acquired in 1962 by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which renamed the system the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH). The Port Authority decided to demolish the Hudson Terminal to build the World Trade Center, with the station being closed in 1971, replaced by PATH’s World Trade Center station. Although the buildings were demolished in 1972, the last vestiges of the station were removed in the 2000s as part of the reconstruction of the World Trade Center after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

planning and construction

In January 1905, the Hudson Companies was created to complete construction of the Uptown Hudson Tunnels, a tunnel between Jersey City, New Jersey, and Midtown Manhattan, New York, which had been under construction intermittently since 1874. The company also built the Downtown Hudson tunnels, which included a station in Jersey City’s Exchange Place neighborhood, as well as a terminal and a pair of office buildings in Lower Manhattan, which would become the Hudson Terminal.[1][2] Shortly after the announcement of the construction of the Downtown Hudson tunnels, real estate activity grew around the area of ​​the future station.[3] The Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Company was created in December 1906 to operate the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad (H&M), a public transportation system presided over by William Gibbs McAdoo, which would use the tunnels. The system connected Hoboken, Pavonia and Exchange Place, three of the five major rail terminals on the west coast of the Hudson River.
Land acquisition for the terminal began in December 1905. Hudson Companies acquired most of the two blocks bordered by Greenwich Streets to the west, Cortlandt to the south, Church to the east, and Fulton to the north. A few low-rise buildings on Cortlandt Street were purchased so that the Hudson Terminal view would be assured.[9] One of the owners—the Wendel family, who owned various properties in Manhattan—refused to sell their lot, valued at $75,000 (equivalent to 1,702,273 in 2019[10]), and they unsuccessfully sued H&M, having spent 20,000 dollars (equivalent to 453,939 in 2019) on legal fees. By May 1906, H&M already owned most of the necessary land.[13]:44 The 6,500 m2 purchased for the complex to be built[14]:326 had cost an average of 430 to 480 dollars per m2.
Excavations at the site of the buildings were underway as early as 1907,[15] and the first foundation columns were placed in May of that year.[13]:44 Because of the moisture in the soil in that area, and the proximity to the river Hudson to the west, an underground retaining wall had to be built around the Hudson Terminal site.[14]:328[16] According to architectural writers Sarah Landau and Carl W. Condit, the structure was five times larger. than any previously built.[14]:328 At the time, there were many office buildings being built in Lower Manhattan, although the area witnessed a reduction in the volume of real estate transactions.[17] The complex was built at a cost of US$8 million (equivalent to US$165 million in 2019[10]).[14]:328 The buildings were owned by H&M when they were completed.