The idea that subways exist – train tunnels that run underneath large cities – is amazing even today, when they are commonplace. Imagine what it would be like to be one of the first people to float such an outrageous idea. How can you make a tunnel strong enough so the weight of the city above doesn’t crush it? In the 1860’s Alfred Beach set his mind to making people give his crazy idea about moving people around underground a chance.
The Secret Subway tells Mr. Beach’s story. In order to get people to listen, he was devious! He earned for himself approval to build a small tunnel that would carry mail, and while he was constructing it, he hired extra people to dig a secret tunnel big enough for a train that carries people! Alfred and his team worked quietly at night. No one. Suspected. A thing! The Secret Subway, a look at a man ahead of his time! By Shana Corey. Illustrated by Red Nose Studio.
Mr. Beach reminds me of other visionary showman who had a flare for the dramatic – people like P.T. Barnum and his circus, Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West Show and Walt Disney. These people often invented new things or new ways of doing things – specializing in the “wow” factor when they presented their ideas to people. Listed below are some more visionaries like Mr. Beach. These people all took their ideas to new heights with their dramatic flare. The Secret Subway, a great look at a man way ahead of his time! By Shana Corey. Illustrated by Red Nose Studio.
You can find more biographies like these at IndyPL Kids’ Blog: Famous Visionaries. The books listed there include inventors as well as visionaries from music, art, business and more.
- New York Subway Opens October 27, 1904
- PBS American Experience: The Secret Subway
- Beach Pneumatic Transit
- NYC’s First Subway was Luxurious, Pneumatic and Illegally Built
- Video: Alfred Beach’s Subway Plan