Liquid Assests - Purple Mountain Press


by Diane Galusha

Read a review of this book.

Now available in paperback.

From the Conclusion: "Pride and Sorrow"

"Mayor George B. McClellan described the building of the Catskill System as a 'fairy tale'; Chief Engineer J. Waldo Smith as the magician ... But a fairy tale it most assuredly was not. There was much more hard work than magic involved for countless engineers, surveyors, clerk s, contractors and laborers. Their accomplishments, though unheralded today, remain a source of pride for their descendants, people like Josephine Conforti Pofill, who says, 'As kids, we would go for rides with my father around the Kensico, and he would say, 'See that wall over there? Your grandfather cut that stone.' A sadder inheritance was left to thousands of families displaced by the reservoir projects. For just as the courses of ancient rivers were shifted by men and machines, so too were the lives of countless men, women and children altered forever. 'Unless you have lived through having your home and whole community wiped away, you can't understand the void...I can never take my children and grandchildren and show them where I grew up, or where their grandparents and great-grandparent s once lived.' Perhaps the best we can do is try to learn, understand, and ultimately appreciate, what it took to build this incredible water system: vision, courage, dedication, public treasure, the sacrifice of land, legacy and lives."

The New York City water system is an engineering marvel. Delivering 1.3 billion gallons of water daily to nine million people, it is a complex network of reservoirs stetched out over a vast upstate region and connected by a web of subterranean aqueducts to rival those of the ancient Romans. Clean abundant water has not come without peril or pain. Thousands were forced to relinquish their homes in dozens of communities leveled to make way for the reservoirs of the Croton, Catskill, and Delaware supplies. Hundreds of workers died building the tunnels and dams; countless more were injured.

Meet Diane Galusha, a former newspaper editor and director of communications for the Catskill Watershed Corporation. She chronicles the rise and fall of the Catskills' once-huge cauliflower business in When Cauliflower Was King, also published by Purple Mountain Press.

303 pages, 240 illustrations, 8.5 x 11, index, 2002
$25.00 paperback--A Purple Mountain Press original

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