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© 2011 New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to Holland Tunnel Construction Photographs and Reports
1917-1949 (bulk, 1919-1926)
 PR 332

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on July 31, 2017 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical/Historical Note

The Holland Tunnel runs beneath the Hudson River, connecting New Jersey (at Jersey City) and New York City (at lower Manhattan). An initial amount of funding was appropriated in 1919 to begin preparations for construction, which began in 1922. The tunnel was opened in 1927 and completed in 1929. As a bi-state project, construction was overseen by both the New York State Bridge & Tunnel Commission and the New Jersey Interstate Bridge & Tunnel Commission. The documents in this collection appear to have been compiled by one of the officers of the New Jersey Commission, Edward Morgan Barradale. Barradale was named the New Jersey Commission’s Assistant Secretary in its earliest months in 1919, and in the mid-1920s he became its Secretary.

The tunnel was originally known as the Hudson River Vehicular Tunnel. The name was changed in November 1924 in honor of Clifford M. Holland, the tunnel’s first Chief Engineer, who had died of a heart attack that year. The tunnel extends about 1.6 miles. It comprises two “tubes,” each with two lanes. Although traffic runs eastbound in one tube and westbound in the other, the tubes are referred to in this collection more directly as the north and south tunnels. The tunnel was the first vehicular tunnel to be built under the Hudson River and involved the use of caissons as the tunnels were mined. One of the major engineering challenges the project resolved was that of supplying adequate ventilation to remove the massive amounts of carbon monoxide generated by cars in the tunnel.

(The above note is based on information from the Wikipedia entry for the Holland Tunnel, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s website, and documents from the collection.)