Elisha Graves Otis’s Elevator (Invention)

Lead: An experimental safety device developed by Elisha Graves Otis, a Yonkers, New York machinist, gradually transformed the urban landscape. His creativity added a new dimension to city living. Things could now go up.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: From almost the dawn of civilization, human society came to value communal living. Families would draw together for protection and commerce, their clan gatherings became villages which became towns, which in turn became cities. Increasingly complex urban living came to symbolize the power and wealth of a people. In Babylon, Carthage, Rome, and other capitols, wealth and monuments to imperial greatness were designed to intimidate and seduce enemies and friends alike. These cities attracted large populations, but most lived in poverty and squalor - too many people, too little space. The obvious solution was to build vertically, but until the modern era, buildings were limited in height. Buildings constructed of wood and mortar could be only be pushed so high because of structural weakness. In addition, excessively tall buildings were impractical since people and goods could not efficiently be moved between floors. High-grade steel and reinforced concrete solved the structural problem, Elisha Graves Otis solved the other.

The Bowery

Lead: The Bowery, noted in legend and fact as a home, for New York’s alcoholics, prostitutes and the homeless, was originally Dutch colonial farmland.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When the Dutch settled Manhattan in the 1600s, the land that runs diagonally from present day Chatham Square to the crossing of Fourth Avenue and Eighth Street was an Indian Trail. It led from the main area of settlement to a group of agricultural tracts prominent among which was Governor Peter Stuyvesant’s bouwerij, the Dutch word for farm. By the early 1800s it had become a well-traveled thoroughfare and in 1807 was named the Bowery.

 

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