John A. Roebling Reconsidered

John Roebling, the engineer who designed some of the most important US bridges of the middle third of the nineteenth century, is today somewhat overshadowed by his oldest son, Washington Roebling. After John’s death by accident during the earliest stages of the work on the Brooklyn Bridge, Washington became the chief engineer for that project. …

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Easy To Find

I said yesterday that the Mount Prospect and Ridgewood Reservoirs of the Brooklyn water supply system are long gone, but that’s a simplification. The Mount Prospect reservoir is completely gone, buried under a new park and the Brooklyn Public Library. The Ridgewood reservoir, seen above in a 1909 map, has had an interesting after-life. This …

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Extremes And Norms

Another view of lower Manhattan, again from a slightly odd angle. We’re looking north from the west side of the very southern tip of the island – most likely from the roof of the Whitehall Building. The Library of Congress says 1900 to 1915, but the Woolworth Building and Equitable Buildings are complete, so circa …

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Skyscraper Imagery

The circa 1901 photo above, which has much to recommend it, is filed at the Library of Congress under the title “The Tallest buildings in the world, New York City”. That’s half right. The building on the right is the 1899 Park Row Building, which was the tallest skyscraper at that time and for the …

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