A Look Back: 50 Years After the Northeast Blackout

The Great Northeastern Blackout knocked out power to states across the northeaster U.S. and parts of Canada at the height of the evening rush hour on Nov. 9, 1965. The nation had never seen a power failure of such scope before, and Cold War tensions instantly stoked fears of sabotage.

10 photos
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Forty-second Street in New York City is lit by floodlights and automobile headlights during the massive power failure, Nov. 9, 1965, that affected New York State, most of New England, parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada. (AP Photo)
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AP
FILE - In this Nov. 10, 1965, file photo, front pages of newspapers in London tell the story of the massive power failure that plunged the northeastern Unites States and parts of Ontario, Canada, into darkness, Nov. 9, 1965. Eight states were involved in the power outage that reminded some Britons of the wartime blackouts. (AP Photo/File)
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AP
FILE - In this Nov. 9, 1965 file photo, stranded commuters crowd the ticketing and waiting room at New York's Grand Central Terminal 50 years ago, after a blackout halted train service and plunged tens of millions into darkness across the northeastern U.S. and southern Canada for hours. The electric clock in background gives the time of the power failure , 5:28 p.m., while the non-electric clock on the information booth remains in operation. (AP Photo, File)
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AP
FILE - In this Nov. 9, 1965, file photo, Manhattan skyscrapers and apartment buildings seen from across the river in New Jersey are dark shortly after 6 p.m., during a massive blackout. In foreground is the Hudson River with ships lighted by their own power systems. (AP Photo/Phil Lane, File)
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AP
FILE - In this Nov. 9, 1965 file photo, stranded commuters crowd the waiting area of the Long Island Railroad in New York's Pennsylvania Station during a massive power failure that plunged tens of millions into darkness across the northeastern U.S. and southern Canada for hours. In New York City, it came at 5:27 p.m., the height of the evening commute, trapping hundreds of thousands of subway riders in their train cars, stranding others in building elevators, and turning Grand Central Terminal into an ad-hoc bedroom for commuters who couldn’t get home. (AP Photo/John Lent, File)
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AP
FILE - In this Nov. 9, 1965 file photo, people illuminated by emergency lighting sit, sleep and wander around in the main waiting room of New York's Grand Central Terminal during the massive power failure that plunged tens of millions into darkness across the northeastern U.S. and southern Canada 50 years ago. In New York City, it came at 5:27 p.m., the height of the evening commute, trapping hundreds of thousands of subway riders in their train cars, stranding others in building elevators, and turning Grand Central into an ad-hoc bedroom for commuters who couldn’t get home. (AP Photo/John Lent, File)
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AP
FILE - In this Nov. 9, 1965 file photo, New Yorkers eat dinner by candlelight in an automat in Manhattan in New York during a massive blackout 50 years ago. In the city it came at 5:27 p.m., the height of the evening commute, trapping hundreds of thousands of subway riders in their train cars, stranding others in building elevators, and turning Grand Central into an ad-hoc bedroom for commuters who couldn’t get home. (AP Photo, File)
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FILE - In this Nov. 9, 1965 file photo, the view from the 52-story Prudential Tower in Boston, Mass., shows that not all parts of the city were plunged into darkness during the great northeastern power failure, fifty years ago. The John Hancock Building, center, Charlestown Navy Yard at left background, Boston Airport at center background and the South Boston Naval Annex at right all had emergency back-up systems in place and are lit. Copley Square is seen in foreground. (AP Photo/File)
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AP
FILE - In this Nov. 9, 1965 file photo, passengers sit patiently in near-darkness in a stalled subway car at West 4th Street in the Manhattan section of New York, during the massive power failure that struck at 5:27 p.m., the height of the evening commute. Stretching across the northeastern U.S. and southern Canada, in New York it trapped hundreds of thousands of subway riders in their train cars, stranded others in building elevators, and turned Grand Central Terminal into an ad-hoc bedroom for commuters who couldn’t get home. (AP Photo/Jerry Mosey, File)
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AP
FILE - In this Nov. 10, 1965 file photo, commuters are helped up from railway tracks by police and firemen in the early morning hours after being trapped for nearly eight hours when a massive power failure hit the northeastern United States and parts of Canada 50 years ago. The commuters were on a northbound train from New York's Grand Central Terminal when the blackout occurred, leaving approximately 750 passengers stuck at 153 Street and Park Avenue. (AP Photo/ File)
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