Don Friedman

Construction History: Problem Solved, But…

One of the great innovations in US building technology was the nineteenth-century development of balloon framing for wood construction. It was, in simple terms, the substitution of a great deal of industrial infrastructure in the creation of wire nails and regularized lumber 2xs and 3xs for the carpentry skill required to make mortised joints. The …

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Construction History: A Follow-Up

A few weeks back, l discussed the demolition of the Pabst Hotel when it was only a few years old. It was in the way of constructing the IRT subway, and the New York Times eventually got its narrow triangular site on the soon-to-be-renamed Longacre Square. The specific problem with the Pabst was that the …

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Construction History: An Ancestor

Sometimes I go looking for a specific building or building type in research and serendipitously come across a structure that I had not heard of and wish I’d seen sooner. An example is the small truss bridge above, which spans a railroad line and carries a small local road in rural Pennsylvania. It was moved …

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Small Details Tell The Story

The official title of that picture is “New York skyline from Manhattan Bridge” and that is what it shows. We’re looking south and west from the bridge, past Chinatown to the Financial District skyscrapers. (The pyramid on the left is Bankers Trust, heading to the right from there are the Equitable Building, the Singer Building, …

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