Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Building America

In the years just before 1825 all the ground work had been done, the engineering
plains, the survey maps were finish the funding was set and now it was time to
hire a thousand strong men to dig a ditch. OK, it was a canal, but until it had
water in it and boats on it, its a ditch. And this ditch would run for one hundred
and two miles and they would do it with picks and shovel, axes and saws, mules
and horses, muscle and sweat, and a lot of whiskey, so the story goes. In 1831
the Morris Canal was finished, it ran from the Delaware River to Newark N.J.
It went from being a ditch to a canal, and it would last for one hundred years.

In the same vain in 1863 two crews of men would lay track to link the country
together as they built the transcontinental railroad. In the west they had a hard time
finding good workers, so they hired Chinese who in time would be 80% of the work
force. When asked why the Chinese management said they work hard, they don't get
drunk and walk off the job, and if they can build the great wall of China, they can
build a railroad. In the east many of the men were Irish and German immigrants and
some Civil war Vets. And they did it with shovels, sludge hammers, pickaxes and
muscle and sweat. These were the blue collar boys, they built canals and railroads,
walked the high steel on skyscraper, built dams and bridges and road all over this
country. I don't know if they thought they were building America or not, but at some-
time in the future they could look upon there work with there grand-kids at there side
and say, grandpa helped build that.