Historic Structures

Thames River Railroad Bridge - Groton Bridge, New London Connecticut

The national railway network that was to be one of the critical catalysts in the industrialization of the United States was largely completed between 1840 and 1880. Most early railroads were short lines that attempted to tap economic resources of the hinterlands of cities. By the second quarter of the 19th century, cities east of the Mississippi, particularly those in the northeast, began to build longer lines and consolidate shorter ones to tie them more closely together. The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad provides an excellent example of how railroad systems were created and how they advanced transportation technology, including movable bridges, with their economic power. The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad was first formed by a consolidation of the Hartford and New Haven Railroad Company with the New York & New Haven Company, when the two railroads entered into a partnership agreement. The capital was divided, and the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad was established on August 6, 1892. Lengthy and intricate patterns of acquisiton were common to railroading in the late 19th century. Empires were created as well as monopolies on the transportation of goods. The peak growth years of the American railroads were the early 1900s and, of those, the teens (1911-1919) were the final surge. The decline of the railroads after those years was due partly to the excesses of transportation monopolies in the last quarter of the 19th century and partly to a combination of rising costs and competition from other modes of transportation.

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Lembeck and Betz Eagle Brewery, Jersey City New Jersey

The Lembeck & Betz Eagle Steam Ale Brewery was founded by Henry F. Lembeck, a businessman from Jersey City, and John Betz, a beer brewer from New York City. Betz was the son of John F. Betz, the first German ale brewer in America, who operated the John Betz brewery in Philadelphia. It was in his father's brewery that John Betz learned his trade. Lembeck operated a grocery store in New York City which he moved to Jersey City. At some point in time, Lembeck was a sales agent of John Betz Ale and made the acquaintance of the younger John Betz. In 1868, Lembeck and Betz formed a partnership to build a brewery, which they named the Lembeck & Betz Eagle Steam Ale Brewery. In 1869, they completed construction of a four-story brick brew house on Ninth Street between Grove and Henderson Streets in Jersey City, New Jersey, and opened for business. As the business grew during the 1870s, the brew house was expanded with additions to the east and to the rear, the addition of another story to the main building, and changes to the facade. By 1879, Lembeck & Betz produced 31,532 barrels of beer, ranking it third among the 57 breweries in New Jersey which together produced nearly 520,000 barrels annually. One of the main factors in choosing the site was the availability of good industrial land located adjacent to a branch line of the Erie Railroad which ran down Tenth Street. Bulk commodities moved by rail, and the Erie provided direct rail connections to upstate New York, the primary source of hops and malt for beer making. Naturally, the close rail line also facilitated the delivery of coal, building materials, and equipment necessary for the continued operation and expansion of the plant. The 1928 Hopkins map shows a rail siding coming down Tenth Street and entering the complex between the Bottling House and the Original Brew House. The date of the building of this siding was not determined. By 1893, Lembeck & Betz were obtaining malt via the Erie Railroad from Lembeck's malt house in Watkins, New York. The H.F. Lembeck and Co. malt house fronted on Seneca Lake and was the principal feature of the town. Following the incorporation of the brewery, the ownership of the malt houses came under the corporation. To what degree the railroad was used for transport of the finished product is not known. Presumably the majority of the beer was delivered to homes and taverns by the company's horse-drawn wagons. By 1893, the company owned 72 horses, 24 new beer trucks, and 12 ale trucks.

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Joseph Wheeler Plantation, Wheeler Alabama

The General Joseph Wheeler Plantation, which is primarily significant for its associations with General Joseph Wheeler, retains much of its 19th Century plantation ambience and appearance and contains three structures representative of three generations of plantation life in 19th Century Alabama. The three main structures include: a one-story log house constructed around 1818 by the Hickman family which homesteaded the plantation; a two-story log and clapboard home constructed as the family's permanent residence during the 1820's; and a two and a half story frame home which was built by Wheeler during the latter portion of the 19th Century and served both as the center of his large and prosperous plantation and as his home until his death in 1906. Joseph Wheeler symbolizes restoration of rule in the postbellum South and political reconciliation between that section and the North. A renowned cavalry officer in the Confederate Army, Wheeler became an Alabama planter after the Civil War, and beginning in 1884 he won eight successive elections to the U.S. House of Representatives. Like many other so-called Bourbon Democrats, he maintained a paternal attitude toward blacks, opposed civil rights legislation, and called upon southerners to forget the war and devote their energy to industrialization. Wheeler never became a powerful figure in Congress, but his intelligent speeches on a variety of subjects made him one of the best known men in Washington. In 1898, while still a member of the House, he resumed his military career. To erase the last vestiges of sectionalism and make the Spanish-American War a national effort, President William McKinley appointed Wheeler a major general of volunteers. He became the only corps commander in U.S. military history who had held a similar position in the Confederacy.

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Miah Maull Shoal Lighthouse, Delaware Bay New Jersey

The Miah Maull Shoal Lighthouse is a well-preserved embodiment of the cast-iron and concrete caisson foundation technology which was used from 1876 to 1913 in lighthouses that occupied waterbound sites in the northeastern United States. At least 50 such lighthouses were built. Miah Maull Shoal, designed in 1907 and completed in 1913, was the last example of this type built before reinforced concrete technology was introduced; it was also one of the last major navigational aids built in the Delaware Bay. As part of a string of lighthouses in the bay and the lower Delaware River that were in place before World War One, Miah Maull Shoal helped foster the improved navigation of the Delaware that was crucial to the success of the Hog Island Shipyard (now the site of the Philadelphia International Airport), which was established in 1917. By the end of the conflict, Hog Island had become the largest shipyard in the world. The Miah Maull Shoal itself, which was named for an eighteenth-century Delaware mariner, was 800 yards wide and 3,000 yards long at a depth of 13 feet — a significant hazard to large modern ships, which required a much greater draft. The need for a deep channel, both for commercial and for military purposes, was foreseen during the early years of this century. Now known as the Philadelphia Ship Channel, it was called for by Congress in the River and Harbor Act of 1909 to be a 35-foot deep channel at least 800 feet wide from the Philadelphia and Camden wharves and shipyards to the mouth of Delaware Bay, to replace an existing 600-foot wide, 26-foot deep channel begun in 1885. Subsequent improvements have deepened the channel to 40 feet.

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Macombs Dam Bridge, New York City New York

The Macombs Dam Bridge (originally the Central Bridge) and the 155th Street Viaduct, constructed in 1890-95 to the designs of eminent Structural Engineer Alfred Pancoast Boiler, for the New York City Departments of Public Parks and Public Works, was a considerable municipal undertaking, as well as a significant feat of engineering. The Macombs Dam Bridge is the third oldest major bridge in New York City (after the Brooklyn and George Washington Bridges) and is also the City's oldest, intact metal truss, swing-type bridge, a bridge type most often employed in New York City along the Harlem River between the 1880's and 1910. The bridge's steel central Swing Span was considered at the time to be the world's heaviest movable mass. Boiler successfully overcame the various difficult challenges involved in the construction of the bridge and Viaduct, particularly in the placing of the foundations, while producing an aesthetically noteworthy design. The Passaic Rolling Mill Company of Paterson, New Jersey, and the Union Bridge Company of Athens, Pennsylvania, Contractors for the critically-acclaimed bridge, were leading steel and iron bridge manufacturers. The long steel 155th Street Viaduct provides a gradual descent toward the bridge from the heights of Harlem to the west, while the long Jerome Avenue approach viaduct of the bridge, consisting primarily of steel deck truss spans carried by masonry piers, with a subsidiary Camel back Truss Span, was built over what was then marshland in the Bronx. The appearance of the bridge and Viaduct is enhanced by the central Swing Span truss outline, the steel latticework, the steel and iron ornamental details (including the Eighth Avenue stairs, sections of original railing and several lamp posts) and the masonry piers, abutments and shelterhouses. Following in a succession of bridges at this site since 1815, the Macombs Dam Bridge and the 155th Street Viaduct continue to provide a historically important connection between upper Manhattan and the Bronx. In 1813 Robert Macomb petitioned the New York State Legislature for permission to construct a dam across the Harlem River in the vicinity of present-day 155th Street in order to form a mill pond for the use of the business he had obtained from his father. He was granted this right in 1814 with several requirements, including the provision that he operate a lock to allow vessels to pass along the river. A dam was completed in 1815, which also functioned as a toll bridge. Macombs milling business later failed, and the dam/bridge, consisting of stone piers connected by wooden spans, was sold. By 1838, a dispute arose over this private usurpation of the river and the courts found that Macombs Dam was a public nuisance. The Legislature in 1858 directed New York City and Westchester County to remove the dam and build a new toll-free bridge. The Central Bridge (familiarly known as Macombs Dam Bridge) was constructed in 1860-61 by Builders John Ross and D. L. Harris under the direction of Engineer E. H. Tracey; initially authorized at $10,000, it cost over $90,000. Built of wood, it had a 210-foot central draw span, with a square tower and iron rods supporting the ends, as well as two Howe truss approach spans carried on trestles. This bridge was reconstructed several times: around 1877, the square tower was replaced by A-frames; in 1883, iron trusses by the Central Bridge Works of Buffalo, New York, replaced the approach spans; and in 1890, the wooden draw span was rebuilt.

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Hahne and Company Department Store, Newark New Jersey

The establishment of the first department store has been credited to Aristide Bougicaut, with the founding of his Bon Marche' store in Paris in 1838. Beginning with a drapery store, by 1860, the Bon Marche' store had separate departments selling dresses, coats, millinery, underwear and shoes. The storeowner encouraged customers to visit his store by creating displays and offers, with clearly marked prices on the goods. He pioneered the idea of the store as purposely designed for fashionable public assembly rather than just a means of supply. Boucicaut allowed customers to exchange merchandise they bought or get their money back. His money-back guarantee was a new concept that built up his trade substantially, and he reversed the prevalent practice of taking a high profit on goods that turned over slowly. Selling his merchandise at a small markup, he depended on a rapid turnover to make his profit. The success of the store was reflected in the opening of rival stores such as Le Printemps in 1865 and La Bell Jardinie're in 1866. These stores caught the imagination of American visitors to Paris and formed the basis for early American department stores. R.H. Macy visited the store himself and, when he got back home, outfitted his doormen in uniforms like those worn by Bon Marche' employees. In the middle of the nineteenth century, national economic conditions were very favorable to the development of the department store. The American department store is largely a product of the period 1860 to 1910, due to several important factors, besides the example of Bon marche'. First, population increased dramatically in many regions of the country in the second half of the nineteenth century. Large numbers of people lived in relatively small areas and were easily able to reach almost any place in town with the development of improved mass transportation systems. Horse drawn trolleys, the precursors of electric trolley systems in Newark, as well as in other metropolitan areas, charged a reasonable fare to transport potential consumers from every point in town to the point of sale. More and better advertising, enabling merchants to lure customers to their stores, was made possible by the lowering of the price of paper in the 1830s. By around 1850, the typical once column-wide advertisement evolved into a much larger, multi-column, profusely illustrated ad. The development of plate glass windows allowed for elaborate window displays and in-store advertising.

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Woodlane Plantation, Eufaula Alabama

Available records show that Tennant Lomax, a wealthy Montgomery Courtian, owned Woodlane Plantation in the early 1850s. While it is possible that Lomax may have built a house at Woodlane Plantation, the construction of the main dwelling has historically been attributed to John Raines, a wealthy cotton planter from Muscogee County, Georgia. Raines owned land in Barbour County as early as 1833. Woodlane plantation was part of a 2400-acre tract that comprised all of the land between Barbour and Chaneyhatchee Creek to the Chattahoochee River. Raines' Landing was located on the banks of the Chatthoochee River at the end of the tree-lined canopied drive. In addition to cotton, Raines also raised tobacco and subsequently, constructed the tobacco-curing barn that is still located on the property. John W. Raines died sometime between December 1856, the date of the execution of his will, and March 2,1858, the date his will was filed for probate. Raines' will shows that his primary concern was for the two children and the unborn child of his servant yellow woman Mary. The children were Mary Antoinette, Sally Angeline, and Aurora Boreallis, born after Mr. Raines wrote his will. Mr. Raines directed his executors to secure the passage of an act by the Alabama State Legislature to free the children and Mary. His will dictates that if such an act could not be passed, Mary and his children were to be moved to the Free State of Ohio. At the time Mr. Raines drafted his will, an Alabama slaveholder could not free his slaves without the consent of the state legislature. Raines' executors were ordered to sell by private sale or public auction the entire estate, including Woodlane Plantation, which was valued at more than $75,000. The proceeds were to be held in trust by his executors for the three children, their education, and a station inlife compatible with their up-bringing. Edward B. Young and William H. Thornton, residents of nearby Eufaula, were appointed as executors while Lewis Cato, a prominent Eufaula attorney, served as Mr. Raines' attorney.

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