Huntington Ave. Subway Extension – Boston MA


In 1938-1941 the WPA constructed this Boston subway extension, part of the Boston Elevated Railway which now appears to be part of the MBTA Green Line underground light rail route.

WPA Bulletin, 1937:

Work for 1400 men for about a year will be provided by the $2,000,000 Huntington avenue subway in Boston on which initial construction has begun. At its peak the project will employ about 1400 on a six-shift basis.
Engineers, engaged in preliminary work, carefully inspected every building and every building foundation along the route of the subway extension to determine what steps will be necessary to prevent the settling of buildings.
The new subway for Huntington avenue street cars will branch from the Boylston street subway at Exeter street, continue under Exeter street to Huntington avenue and under Huntington avenue to an incline at Garrison street, opposite Mechanics building. The open ditch method will be used in excavating the 1165-foot, two-tube subway except at the junction of Huntington avenue and Exeter street. At that point subway builders will tunnel under railroad tracks without disrupting train schedules.
Construction of the subway will remove trolley cars from the surface of Boylston street between the incline at the Public Garden and Copley square and from Huntington avenue between Copley square and Garrison street.

The Boston Herald reported the following on February 17, 1941: “Mayor Tobin squared off with a gilded sledge outside the Boston Opera House yesterday afternoon and with eight lusty swings hammered the last spike in the rails of the Huntington avenue subway—a $7,125,937 WPA project that took nearly four years to build. Two minutes later, with a crowd of more than 2,000 cheering them off, more than 200 officials of the city, state, WPA and of the Boston Elevated railway boarded a three-car train and took the first ride through the 4,316-foot extension.”

Source notes

“Mayor Drives Last Spike to Put Huntington Av. Tube in Operation: 14,000 Riders Expected to Benefit Daily,” Boston Herald, February 17, 1941.

Works Progress Bulletin, Massachusetts: Sept. 16, 1937 (pg. 2):

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee -, and Evan Kalish on July 28, 2014.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115

Coordinates: 42.347075, -71.079557

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