Just three years earlier in there was a lockout at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory after the workers there tried to form a Union. Many would be brutally beaten at the hands of the police doing the dirty work for corrupt Tammany politicians.
Other garment workers joined with them in a general strike that eventually spread to other cities. Suffragettes that were sympathetic to these voiceless women added to their numbers and supplied badly needed financial support. The six day work week was reduced to 52 hours but few companies would agree to address workplace safety. At the time of the fire in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory was still not unionized and all safety demands remained unmet. This maximized the number of workers in the space but it severely restricted movement.
Over a ton of cotton scraps littered the shop that even if swept away would only reveal floor boards saturated in machine oil that constantly dripped from the well greased machines. Sprinkler systems were already in use at this time but they were not installed here being seen as an undue burden that interfered with profit. Any worker who dared complained was made sure to know that their life was simply of no consequence. The icy cold temperatures and high winds of that January day severely hampered the efforts of firefighters to bring it under control.
The workers who had fled to the roof found themselves trapped there, and all would be consumed by the flames when it finally caved in. Its innovative design had been questioned when built in As it turned out, iron in a fire will loose its structural integrity faster than wood will burn. When disaster hit the newer fireproof Asch Building, built in , some doubt should have been cast on these previous assertions, but no further precautions against fire were ever taken.
Knowledge is of little use when there is a lack of will. Three months later on April 14th, the Cape Race Lighthouse Station in Newfoundland received an emergency distress call from the premiere luxury liner of the White Star fleet. An iceberg had ripped a hole into the side of the unsinkable Titanic and it was quickly going down. While few expenses were spared to provide an opulent atmosphere for the wealthy clientele that were to sail on her, no more safety features were added than those called for by the antiquated codes of the day.
She had the exact required number of lifeboats aboard but this fixed number was set at a time when ships were only half her size. Only out of passengers escaped death in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic that night. Overconfidence in the technology of the day had led to an arrogance that doomed many once again. Most Americans had been unsympathetic to the Unions but now as support grew from a public highly outraged over recent events they would not back down and together they placed great pressure on State legislators.
Cooler heads in the Union would convince them to put their energy into demanding even more reform. Buildings that were deathtraps would no longer be tolerated in New York. Under this pressure 26 statutes regarding fire safety were quickly passed. This was followed by new sets of building codes along with laws providing for minimum safety requirements in working environments and programs to compensate workers injured on the job. Implementation was insured through the collective bargaining power of the Unions.
It was only a day after the Titanic went down that a ceremony was held on Water Street for the placing of the cornerstone of what was to become the new home for the Seamans Church Institute. This celebration turned into a somber occasion with many tears shed, for New York was especially hard hit by news of the disaster.
As the destination port for the Titanic, many friends and relatives of those aboard were already in town waiting to greet it on arrival. Just a year after the cornerstone was laid, thousands crowded onto Water Street once more to take part in a new ceremony dedicating this lighthouse, a light to guide in the ship that would never arrive. This led the U. Coast Guard to designate this nine ton copper lighthouse an official guide to navigation. The Titanic lighthouse shared the roof of the Seamans Church Institute with a number of large sculptured animals reminiscent of the gargoyles of Paris but not nearly as menacing.
While the peak of most lighthouses are adorned with a lightning rod, the memorial tower had a sixteen foot hollow metal pole attached to it that held a sliding pound bronze ball, four feet in diameter. This odd addition was not ornamental but served as a time-ball so that any ship in port within sight of it could synchronize its chronometer.
Many New Yorkers also counted on this strange device to set their own wind up watches for there were few alternatives in these days to ascertain the correct hour. Cables within the hollow shaft would hoist this giant ball to its top where it was held in place by a powerful electro magnet, which was controlled in turn through telegraph lines leading down to the Naval Observatory in Washington, DC.
Every day since the 1st of November, the current to the magnet was cut precisely at noon and the ball would slowly slide down the shaft to indicate the hour. A hundred thousand mourners passed solemnly down the streets of New York before an even larger audience after the Triangle fire but as the years past, the yearly services held at the Triangle and Titanic memorials were attended by fewer and fewer.
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The tragedies of half a century earlier were fading fast from public memory, and efforts to role back stringent building codes that were hampering the profits to be made from modern skyscraper design were gaining momentum. The buildings lack of isolated elevator shafts, interior supports, and adequate fireproofing were considered obsolete worries in the face of innovative structural design.
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It also created more rentable space. The voices of those who questioned the safety of this framed tube design and who wondered if it would be a deathtrap for those who would work there were drowned out by those with money in their eyes, overconfident with modern technology. Today the same code exemptions have been granted to the new tower that will rise on the ruins of the too strong to ever fall Twin Towers.
Construction of another modern office tower, 55 Water Street would soon take its place. The Seamans Institute still maintains downtown offices but they are greatly downscaled as the need for large dormitory space for seamen has disappeared along with most of the port facilities on Manhattan Island. Most that walk this way whisk pass it without ever noting its significance. Striped down and devoid of its fine metal detailing, the lighthouse appears as some ill conceived garish eyesore made solely for the attraction of tourists.
It does however blend in with the Seaport that has become more of a mall than the historic educational site it was intended to be. Back in over a hundred workers died on the job every day due to unsafe conditions; a number once considered to small to bother instituting safety measures that might infringe on profit. A hundred years latter New York is still full of sweatshops.
The faces are different but they are still largely fueled by immigrants, many of them young children. According to the U. Legislation paid for in lives is enforced ever more sporadically as arguments are made in the face of high unemployment that Unions be dissolved and safety be compromised if people want jobs.
Today on the sidewalk at Washington Place and Greene the diligent have scrolled the names of each victim of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire where they fell. Red roses and carnations have replaced the blood that once flowed into the gutters. Thankfully there are those who can never forget. August 6, Books in this form whose foundation rests primarily on pictures can be disappointing when too little supporting information is given or if the images are more private in nature than of public relevance. The book is broken into seven chapters, three on Columbia University, one on Barnard College, and the remaining three on Morningside Heights.
This provides for an excellent balance between understanding the growth of the University alongside the neighborhood it now resides in. The first three chapters do more than break the campus down into geographical segments. They are arranged to follow the natural progression of its construction from the Low Memorial Library onwards. We are taken through a long intricate journey, step by step, from the original concept to the rise of individual buildings, and ultimately to a fully grown campus.
The chapter on Barnard College is rather short but it is well illustrated and provides many insights into its development. Where the chapters on Morningside Heights could have been nothing more than fluff to fill up a book short on content, they instead provide valuable insights into the neighborhood that grew up around the University.
A wide variety of sights and events are covered that show the areas diversity while not dwelling excessively on topics that can become off point. The Heights were sometimes referred to as the Acropolis of America , in reference to the many other famous structures that crowned it such as the Cathedral of St.
All these notable landmarks are given their due, but the main focus of these chapters rests on the streets, apartments, and parks that are the soul of any neighborhood and whose inclusion here should be applauded. Even elements of the transportation network as the famous th Street elevated curve are touched upon. Some of the postcards illustrating this book will inevitably be familiar to those who collect cards of the area.
The vast majority of postcards however are of images that even a seasoned collector would be hard pressed to admit having seen before. The captions that accompany these pictures provide real information for which I attach real importance, for even a collector who may own many of these cards may not know the details or significance behind them. This in itself takes this work beyond picture book status. While I admit a prejudice against so many non-views being included within a book about a locale, they have been used here to good effect. The short biographies that accompany these cameos fill in informational gaps that the views alone cannot provide.
Together they create a story, propelling it forward as a more cohesive narrative. With its many excellent illustrations and detailed narratives it certainly goes far to fulfill this function. While the scope of this book serves a different purpose than the many other more scholarly volumes available on the University I still wish the author had taken his writing a little further.
Though it thoroughly documents the many changes to the area I am left wanting to know more about the forces and reasoning behind these changes. I believe a more comprehensive vision could have been simply presented, without the need of adding additional pages. This would have given the reader a clearer understanding of why the Heights developed as it did and not just how. Even so this book remains an important new work in furthering our understanding of Morningside Heights though the unique material that is presented.
This book stands as a document of change making it a valuable addition to any library. August 4, Whatever Happened to Alley Pond? By Alan Petrulis. But few park goers can tell you anything about its namesake Alley Pond. The question of whether Ally Pond ever actually existed or not can be dispelled by looking at old postcards from which a number of views can be found, but these images will not stir much recognition today.
Natural drainage from these high hills cut out a narrow valley in northeastern Queens that became known as Sylvan Alley. As the runoff mixes with natural springs it flows northward as Alley Creek, and soon reaching sea level it spreads out into a fresh water marsh before intermixing with the salty grasslands at the head of Little Neck Bay.
The native Matinecocs of the hilly land must have found this area a pleasant place to live. The bay provided an abundance of shellfish that was not only an important source of food but of the quahogs that were greatly valued for the production of sewant wampum. Thomas Foster was an early recipient of such lands being granted acres of the Alley in Two years later the town of Vlissingen Flushing would be chartered, its eastern boundary resting at the fortified stone house of the Foster farm. In another settler, Thomas Hicks, took hold of much of the high ground at the head of Little Neck Bay.
Hicks constructed a mill on his west bank holdings along a stream flowing down into the Alley from Oakland Lake. The family mansion, The Oaks , would later be built near this site. Within ten years he forced them off the land he claimed. The many disputes with Tackapousha over land rights would not be resolved until after New Amsterdam passed to the English.
In , a year after Queens County was established, Governor Dongan coerced all towns to surrender their charters and prove their titles to land. All claims were settled and deeds given out to both the settlers and individual Matinecocs, but this caused the Tribe to fade into the general population. James Hodges began operating another gristmill on Alley Creek in , though it is generally believed that the Foster family built and owned it. The millpond it created was called Alley Pond. It was built in response to the growing number of farmers in the area that joined the numerous oystermen who had set up their shacks around the bay.
This widely spread out community became known as Matagarison and latter Marathon, a forerunner to Bayside, Douglaston, and Little Neck. During the American Revolution the area was largely populated by those who remained loyal to the Crown or by Quakers who refused to take up arms. Their farms provided shelter and sustenance for the British soldiers and Hessian mercenaries occupying New York City. This made the area a target for Yankee raiders sailing over in whaleboats from the Connecticut shore.
The Fosters however were true to the revolutionary cause and paid for it by having the eldest Foster hanged as a traitor. Fortunately his son fought managed to fight off the Hessians and killed one before cutting his father down just moments before death. This route bypassed the Alley Road, a widening of a steep Indian trail never meant for teams of horses pulling heavy loads. President George Washington traveled down this old road on his tour of Long Island in He stopped in at the tavern alongside the millpond for refreshments greeting the small crowd that gathered.
A year after the causeway was built the turnpike was extended from its terminus at Roslyn out to Oyster Bay. In spite of the detour the extra traffic brought more attention to the area surrounding Alley Pond, and with the influx of artisans and a blacksmith a community began to flourish. It became the central source of supplies for the surrounding farms and the site of the Alley Post Office. Mail for all of greater Flushing originally arrived here either by stage or small boats sailing up Alley Creek until when a second post office was built in downtown Flushing.
In Lowerre sold his general store to his son-in-law William C. With only a background in restaurants and hotels Taylor began a commercial plant nursery that grew to major proportions. He eventually had thirty greenhouses for roses and orchids alone. In a portion of his holdings were put aside for the Oakland Golf Course. Despite the size of these operations it was the Foster family down in the Ally that may have made a larger contribution to horticulture.
Legend has it that a visiting British sea captain left a small tree cutting with them, which when mature yielded the first Bartlett Pears in America. At the turn of the 20th century when picture postcards began to appear the buildings surrounding Alley Pond found their way onto them. Since the distant Bayside Pharmacy published most of these postcards, it gives insight how the Alley long past its prime was still regarded as an important landmark. Buhrman was now catering to passing travelers advertising candy, soda, and even rest rooms, rather than selling farm implements. Its steep slopes held many old oaks and tulip trees that predated the first European settlers, and the new growth around the millpond was already over a hundred years old.
But Flushing was no longer the town it used to be. Most of Eastern Queens was still farmland but real estate speculators were following the rails and roads leading out from Jamaica. While much of the early development consisted of large estates and houses for the well to do business class that worked in Manhattan, the newer houses that began rising in the fields after when Greater New York was consolidated and especially after World War One was predominantly for the working class.
This sent shivers down the spines of those who feared encroachment on their exclusive communities. In the Regional Plan Association was formed and they quickly proposed the establishment of large parks to halt the expansion of undesirable neighborhoods. The fear was that if the working class moved eastward the wealthy in turn would be forced further to the east greatly lengthening their commute into Manhattan. The first line of defense was created that very same year when New York City purchased acres of the Alley for the creation of a park, separating Queens Village from the estates of the north shore.
Moses was looking for a way to connect his Belt Parkway in southern Queens to the Whitestone Bridge leading over to the Bronx.
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He was only too happy to gain support in destroying parkland by routing a highway through the Alley. Most structures in the Alley had already been removed when the wetlands began to be filled in for the Cross Island Expressway. By the time construction ended six years later the huge concrete and steel road became a greater barrier between communities than a mere park could ever be. Use of the park was also curtailed and denigrated by this massive structure. As the highway continued northward it covered over the white sandy beach of Little Neck Bay cutting off access to its once quiet shores from the residents of the village of Bayside.
Although a thin ribbon of parkland was created on new fill along the waterfront, six lanes of noisy exhaust filled highway are inescapable at its back. The last of Alley Pond itself disappeared in under the newly constructed Long Island Expressway. Only a small weed filled remnant situated within the southeast loop of its cloverleaf can still occasionally be spotted. In an effort to shift blame for the destruction of the jewel that was Alley Pond away from the Regional Plan association, Robert Moses became the favorite scapegoat.
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But it remains unclear who was using who the most. Never one to let communities rich or poor stand in the way of his grand schemes, Moses may have had little sympathy with the Associations wishes. He looked upon parkland as free construction space for his projects and may have built his road here in any case. But as the automobile turned America into a commuter nation their efforts of social control through urban planning went array. In the present reality the original impedes behind many these failed projects are easily obscured and taken in at face value.
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In attempts began at undoing up some of the damage done. Kiddy City was removed and the wetlands started to be reclaimed. While there are plans in the air to restore some of Alley Pond it can never be the sylvan setting it once was now that it lies under heavy traffic. One cannot even begin to recognize the images found on old postcards of this area. They bare witness to a great loss. The most troubling revolves around Thomas Foster. Kieft however did not arrive in New Amsterdam until , so either the former Diector, Wouter Van Twiller made this grant or the date is wrong.
However there is no evidence that these Fosters are the same person. Foster appears to have been a common name on early Long Island and the Fosters of the Alley, Jamaica, Hempstead, and Southampton do not seem to be related to each other, at least by any evidence now known. These problems are in large part do to the early records of the area being lost to fire in when the Jeremiah Vanderbilt residence was set ablaze by a servant; hung afterwards for the misdeed.
Jeremiah was the town clerk for Bayside, and all official records for the area not stored in Albany were destroyed. Compounding the problem is that other accounts were sometimes recorded in retrospect from memories whose clarity may have long passed. While care was given to assign the truest dates to events their accuracy should not be taken as absolute.
Blog Archive 2 July to December Feb - Dec Sept - Jan Mar - Aug Aug - Feb Aug - June Columbia College. The College History Series. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, Jansen, John. Evansville, IN: M. Lumpkin, Alva M. Vignettes of Early Columbia and Surroundings. Maxey, Russell. Columbia, SC: The R.
L Bryan Company, Montgomery, John A. Montgomery, Warner M. Moore, John Hammond. Salsi, Lynn Sims. Columbia: History of a Southern Capital. Scott, J.
Random Recollections of a Long Life, Calvo, Selby, Julian A. Sennema, David C. Postcard History Series. Woody, Howard. Columbia, SC: Richland Library, South Carolina State Museum. South Caroliniana Library, Joseph E. Winter Photograph Collection. Columbia SC Our Story Matters. A Columbia native, John has served Historic Columbia in a variety of curatorial and administrative capacities since You are commenting using your WordPress.
You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. By John Sherrer Columbia, South Carolina was intentionally designed to be a very livable city from its inception.
German immigrant artist Augustus Grinevald rendered his impression of the capital city shortly before the Civil War. Columbia, Historic Columbia collection, HCF Columbia, circa Many advancements made by African Americans during Reconstruction were curtailed during the advent of Jim Crow. Here a child laborer operates an oxcart during the mids. Today, some of the buildings in which these businesses operated are being put to new uses.
Image courtesy of South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia International conflict brought opportunity as Columbians, who once looked askance at Washington leaders, embraced Federal funds that came with the founding in of Camp Jackson. Image courtesy of the Powell family Like cities throughout the United States, Columbia in the s through early s was forever altered by Urban Renewal, which reduced generations-old inner-city neighborhoods to either memories or a shell of their former selves. Widening of Streets, Post-World War II infrastructural improvements, implemented to enhance automobile ingress and egress to Columbia, would drastically change the character of many 19 th and early 20 th century primary roads, including the destruction of buildings, yards and community cohesion.
Image courtesy of South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia Concurrent with these larger trends was an appreciation for downtown amenities and a rebirth in interest for older buildings, which had, by the later s, enjoyed a tenuous following. Nell S. Tales of Columbia.