American history books are full of rags to riches stories, showcasing how men and women from humble backgrounds grew into titans of industry, erecting the buildings, landmarks and statues that have shaped our great nation. However, what often goes untold is the story of the skilled craftsmen, the men and women working behind the scenes to bring those visions to life.
From towering skyscrapers to Mother-Nature-taming dams, skilled craftsmen have accomplished amazing feats of architecture, ingenuity and craftsmanship. Below is just a small sampling of how skilled craftsmen have built some of the country’s most recognizable landmarks.
Just how many workers did it take to tame the Colorado River? A testament to both engineering and skilled labor, it took more than 8,000 workers just under five years (from 1931 to 1936) to build the mighty Hoover Dam. Working in 120 degree temperatures and at heights that rose a thousand feet into the air, the workers who built the Hoover Dam accomplished a feat that deserves to be celebrated.
Dubbed as one the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers and stretching 1.7 miles above the mist-enshrouded San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge is a triumph of the craftsman spirit. Built during the peak of the great depression, the exact number of men and women it took to build the bridge is unknown, however, it took at least 10 different prime contractors, along with subcontractors, just over four years to accomplish the task.
Comprised of 102 floors and towering 1054 feet high, the Empire State Building held the title of World’s Tallest Building for more than 40 years. More than just an example of modern day architecture and engineering accomplishment, the Empire State Building serves as a showcase of the collective will and dedication of the more than 3,400 workers who made this building a reality.
Standing 631 feet high and measuring in at 536 feet wide, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis is the tallest man-made monument in the United States. Erected as a monument to the city’s and t
he country’s pioneering spirit, it took more than 1,000 skilled workers, including iron workers, boilermakers, and concrete masons, just under three years to bring this vision to life.