Some of us worked on these towers in raising gangs with Guy Derricks. It was a different time and this photographer provides a great look and days gone by. Anyone recognize these workers?

Mohawk Steelworkers

construction siteIn 1970, I made a series of photographs of Mohawk ironworkers at a building site on Park Avenue and 53rd Street in New York City. At first, with construction just getting off the ground, I was able to take pictures from the sidewalk. Later, I met members of the construction gang and learned they came from the Kahnawake (then known as Caughnawaga) Reserve on the St. Lawrence River near Montreal, Canada. Click on the images to viewlarger versions.

The Kahnawake Mohawks began working the high steel in 1886 when the Canadian Pacific Railroad contracted the Dominion Bridge Company to build a cantilevered bridge over the St. Lawrence with one end of it on their land. They quickly excelled at this new type of work. Most became riveters, a dangerous but high-paying specialty. The riveting gangs apprenticed new young workers from Kahnawake and as their numbers grew they began building bridges and tall buildings in many cities across Canada and the United States. Ironworking soon became an essential part of the community’s economy, and pride. Read more