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THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE COPPER RIVER RAILROAD DEMANDED A GREAT DEAL OF
BLASTING AWAY OF ROCK. The photo herewith shown is one of the finest ever taken at the moment of such an explosion. The scattering pieces
of stone can be noted in detail.
except for preparations for beginning the big bridge, but early the following spring there began the drive up the canyons. It was heavy work and fast but the easiest of all. The hundred and second mile was reached before track laying stopped. Then began the winter in which the big bridge was completed.
But there were more fights than this that winter. Above the 102nd mile were long stretches of heavy rockwork to be done and large crews were there to do it. Supplies must be kept on the move. It was planned to lay temporary tracks across the river on the ice, but the changing weather kept such a depth of water and slush on its rough surface that even the tough Alaskan horses could not cross. At last a running cable was rigged and a flat-bottomed sledge invented to bobble its way through or over the icy morass.
By this time the fifty miles of upper track was deep in snow and this, with the trains had frozen to solid ice a foot or iwo thick. At this snow and ice the great Votary with a train of coal cars and two engines was thrown. It made a mile and a half the first day, then disappeared, to arrive at Tickel, fifty miles inland, thirtyone days later. Its first day's run had
continued about the daily average for the entire run. In that time the big rotary was off the track not less than 1,500 times, or thirty times to the mile.
Still another hard fight took place beyond the end of the track. Here there was a thirty to eighty-mile haul by sled on the river ice to the scattered camps. But the river froze and thawed and overflowed with appalling regularity; the ice piled itself into almost mountainous barriers, then sank away to pot-holes filled with many feet of slush and water. Hundreds of tons of brush and the work of hundreds of men failed to keep a passable sled road open.
Nevertheless, somehow supplies were got through and when the ice went out 3,000 men were at work. To keep them in food and material three river boats, put together above the roaring cataract of Abercrombie Canyon and powerfully engined, went into early commission and through high water and low they struggled up and down over the shifting bars of Wood Canyon.
So the work went on, still at racing pace, with Hawkins, as ever on the job. Heney, the contractor, himself a remarkable man, worked with him side by side 13
"IT HAD TO BE DONE"
till the strain and exposure broke his health and he went outside to die.
The winter of 1910-11 saw the Copper again crossed, this time at the 135th mile and the line far up into the Chitina basin. Here another winter bridge fight took place. The deep, narrow Kuskalana Canyon must be crossed from rim to rim. Here a hundred feet or more in the air the steelmen had to work in temperature far below zero and under conditions otherwise most trying. There were delays here and as no materials could be got across the canyon till the bridge was finished, the delay meant severa months of lost time beyond.
There was an other thrilling race through trying conditions from the Kuskalana to the Bonanza mine at Kenn i c o 11, the present terminus of the road. It was ended some months ago and now there are daily trains the year round and the highgrade copper ore deposits of the Chitina, to reach which this terrific construction fight
was made, are steadily flowing out to the world and a region, which a few years ago, was one of the most inaccessible in Alaska is now a morning's easy and charming ride from Cordova, the seaport terminus.
And to Hawkins belongs the lion's share of the great credit that is due. This fight more than most engineering battles of today was a matter of men and he proved a man among men. He staked every shred of professional reputation on as risky an undertaking as falls to the lot of the engineer and his winning placed him among the world's great builders.
Erastus Corning Hawkins was born near New York City about forty-eight
The Great Miles Glacier Bridge. 1.100 Feet Of
Which Was Put Together By A Gang Of
Steel Workers In Less Than Six Weeks.
years ago and has for many years been identified with engineering projects in the West. That is about all one can learn of him. From him one can get anything but facts about himself. Mr. Hawkins is a most amazing combination of courage and diffidence, of professional daring and personal modesty. After a visit to the construction camps I went to him for additional data. From the engineer, then in the midst of a heavy pressure of work, I received every possible assistance but with the repeated admonition that he himself should be kept in the background. Two days later came also a letter from Mr. Hawkins, four typewritten pages of which were devoted to individual mention of his and Contractor Heney's staff, each of whom, it seemed, deserved credit for especially good work. The letter concluded: "Any reference to myself should be brought to a minimum. My greatest concern is to bring forward the faithful and capable men who accomplished this work."
This is a fine example of the kind of expression the men who really do things give to their deeds.
He meant it absolutely but his wish has not been strictly obeyed, as the reader will have observed. Strict justice to that man would not warrant such a silence.
Reflecting his habit of thought, Mr. Hawkins writes with a fine simplicity and lucidity of expression. His instinctive reserve and professional training make him understate anything in which there is a dramatic possibility and the result is, therefore, sometimes the acme of forceful writing.
Witness that "it had to be put back."
NEW ORLEANS AND THE BIG DITCH
DRAW a line north and south through New York City and practically every foot of the continent of South America will be found to lie to the east of the line.
A line dropped directly south from the tip of Florida will land out in the Pacific Ocean, far to the west of the westernmost coast of South America.
Including Alaska and the Alaskan islands in the territory of the United States on the North American continent, the east and west center of the country is located some scores of miles out in the Pacific Ocean, to the westward of San Francisco.
Those are perfectly apparent, but generally unrecognized, facts to which the imminent opening of the Panama Canal has called attention.
Great commercial cities of the East, South and West, doing their best to get ready for the epoch-making opening of the big ditch, have made these and other equally surprising discoveries in geography. They have been drawing trade lines, with the canal as the center, to show how close each of them is to the vast, undeveloped markets of the Far East and the western coast of South America.
New Orleans, for instance, has figured out that the canal will put her six hundred miles nearer Asia than is New York. With that as a starting point, the Crescent. City has gone on to make elaborate preparations for the handling of the enormous trade to which she feels she is entitled by reason of her strategic position.
And, strangely enough, it has remained
Belt Railroad Tracks On
Left Paralleling The
for the old French city—t he sleepy, exotic, picturesque, old town of magnolias, Creole beauties and Mardi Gras carnivals—to set its more noisy rivals an example of municipal enterprise and far-sighted planning. What is already done is declared by
Commissioner of Corporations Herbert Knox Smith, to be "the best example in the country of a practical coordination of rail, industrial and water business, for the benefit of the entire community."
New Orleans lies in a loop of the Father of Waters, backing up on Lake Pontchartrain. The great river furnishes a highway from the North for all the products of the Mississippi valley. Alongside the river also run great railroads, leading down from Chicago and the North.
Though located a hundred miles from the Gulf of Mexico, the giant jetties built years ago by Captain Eads so confine the river that its resistless waters keep constantly scoured clean a deep channel, giving easy access for ocean going vessels. At the docks in New Orleans steamers from St. Paul, two thousand miles inland, and rusty cargo boats from
traffic may not be forced to pay a tribute to a private purse, more than seven miles of the river frontage are publicly owned and managed.
Nearly thirty great wharves have been built at public expense, fitted with huge steel ware
Cleaning One Of The Garbage Cars Of The Public houses for the Stor-
with modern ma
chinery for the quick handling of grain, fruit, coal and other products.
But the people of New Orleans have not been content with securing permanent public control of their water front. Equally important with water transportation—more important to local industries —is transportation by rail. And just as railways by favoring one city or one section of a state, as opposed to others, have shown their power to divert and concentrate business prosperity, so have they the power to foster the growth of one section of a city—of one group of industries—at the expense of others. If a big plant has a switching track of its own running through its property, cases have been known where a rebate has been collected by charging the railroads to which freight is delivered a considerable sum for each car handled over the private tracks. And where loaded cars must be Liverpool and Italy may rub noses switched from the tracks of one road to together. another before getting started toward
That these docks may be kept free of their destination there are always likely burdensome charges, that the gateway to to be delays and other annoyances. Prompt deliveries of freight—no matter manufacturing plants of the city, as well
where it originates—to the desired rail- as all the railroads, on an equal footing,
road or the plant of the consignee are the City of New Orleans has built and
essential to healthy business development, is now operating at public expense and
To meet these conditions, to put all the under public management a belt line