The St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project
An Oral History of the Greatest Construction Show on Earth
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Syracuse University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Acknowledgments [Includes About the Author]
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Awesome! Breathtaking! A feat of modern engineering! These are some of the words people exclaim as they overlook the Robert Moses– Robert H. Saunders Dam, which straddles the U.S.–Canadian border. The 3,216-foot-long, 195.5-foot-high structure was the focal point of the...
1. The Binational Political Debate
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At the beginning of every semester I ask my collegiate history students to identify the most controversial decision of American congressmen and Canadian members of Parliament in the twentieth century. Their responses often include the U.S. decision to enter World War I and the...
2. The Project
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In 1954 construction commenced on the five sections of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project, three of which were located exclusively in Canada. The completion of the project required the cooperation of New York State and Ontario provincial officials along with four lead...
3. The Workforce
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Workers who participated in the greatest construction show on earth arrived in Massena with different cultural, educational, religious, and professional backgrounds. While the engineers tended to be college graduates, many of the carpenters and laborers had not finished high school. ...
4. Life on the Job
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The daily life of a Seaway or power dam worker was long, challenging, and sometimes dangerous. The working conditions on the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project have been described by workers as brutal and unforgiving. Workers and contractors toiled in mud, water...
5. Construction Dilemmas
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The harnessing of the Long Sault Rapids and the dredging of a navigable waterway by contractors on the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project has been described by engineers and designers as a triumph of man and technology over nature. For centuries local residents admired...
6. Off the Project
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The 1950s had often been portrayed as the final stage of the development of the American consumer economy and the decade when people began to believe they could attain the good life. Members of all classes earned higher salaries, which equated to new purchasing power and a love of life. ...
7. The Core of the Corps
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Shirley Doxtater, the society editor for the Watertown Daily Times, in an August 27, 1954, article called the wives of Seaway workers in Massena “the core of the Corps.” Even though these women never poured concrete or shoveled dirt, each served as a supportive and devoted spouse...
8. A Lifetime of Memories
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The American public works association heralded the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project as one of the top ten construction projects of the twentieth century. However, even with this recognition, it remains absent from most history textbooks. Students are taught the impact of the...
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The construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway was the greatest construction show ever performed. Twenty-two thousand men and their families migrated to Massena and Cornwall to spend four years constructing the waterway and power dam. During the project contractors and...
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Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 40 black and white illustrations
Publication Year: 2009