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        The Race Underground: The Nation's First Subway

        Learn how immigration and a booming economy led Boston, Massachusetts, America’s most congested city at the end of the 19th century, to a “radical solution” for its transportation problems, in these videos adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: The Race Underground. As people crowded into cities looking for opportunity, the lack of modern transportation threatened to endanger progress. The city of Boston decided to build an underground rail system, which proved to be a feat of engineering and a remarkable example of innovation. This resource is a part of the AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Collection.

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        Video 1: A Congested City

        By the late 19th century, downtown Boston is so crowded that traffic congestion is impeding progress.

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        Video 2: Boston Breaks Ground

        In March 1895, workers in Boston begin their innovative engineering feat: creating the first subway system in the country, made of steel and concrete.

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        Video 3: Going Underground

        An astonishing 250,000 people ride the underground rails on the Boston subway’s opening day, September 1, 1897, and nearly 50 million use the subway in its first year of operation.

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