Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 6-30-1949

Degree Name

Degree of Civil Engineer


Civil Engineering


The following chapters are devoted to the various phases of that branch of construction which is followed from the offshore side of the waterfront. This branch, in the parlance of the building trades, is known as dockbuilding. Years ago all waterfront structures in New York Harbor were constructed almost entirely of timber and experience taught that the most economical approach for building docks and wharves was made by utilizing floating piledrivers and derricks. Thus it happened that dockbuilders became skilled both in the use of wood framing tools and in handling marine equipment. Modern dockbuilders must have, in addition to those skills, the ability to build forms for concrete construction, handle steel and concrete piling, and operate mechanical labor saving devices.

It is recognized that, in the construction of modern waterfront facilities, dockbuilding is not the only trade represented. The ironworkers, masons, metalsmiths, and so forth however, may ply their trades in any location, whereas dockbuilding is a specialty confined to the waterfront. Were it not for the act that portions of it include such other operations as dredging, subaqueous pipe and cable laying, and diving, this text might have been appropriately entitled Dockbuilding rather than Waterfront Construction.

The problems that confront the promoters and designers of waterfront facilities have not been considered to any great extent and it has been attempted to describe in the chapters that follow only the various types and methods of construction peculiar to the waterfront, together with the materials, plant, and labor required for them. While the subject of waterfront construction is far from being exhausted in the following chapters, the more important kinds of facilities, types of construction and varieties of plant prevalent in New York Harbor have, in varying degrees of detail, been described.

Chapter One may, at first, seem to digress considerably, but it is believed that the incidental information contained therein may prove of interest to someone unfamiliar with historical geology. The latter part of the chapter will be found to contain more pertinent information. In the second chapter, as In the first, there will be found paragraphs not closely pertaining to the subject of construction. They have nevertheless been included because a broader background for the chapters that follow is thus provided.

In gathering some of the material assembled herein the services provided by the Public Libraries of Newark, New Jersey, and New York City, the Engineering Societies Library, and the American Museum of Natural History were utilized. Some of the information, not to be found in books and many of the photographs with which the text is illustrated, were generously contributed by a number of organizations whose representatives were considerate enough to give some of their own valuable time to be of assistance. Particularly helpful in this respect were:

United States Corps of Engineers
United States Coast and Geodetic Survey
United States Geological Survey
Port of New York Authority
Tri Borough Bridge and Tunnel Authority
New York City Department of Public Works
New York City Board of Transportation
Allen N. Spooner & Son, Inc.
Morris & Cumings Dredging Co. Inc.
Merritt Chapman & Scott Corporation
Atlantic, Gulf Pacific Co.
Massey Concrete Products Company
National Association of River and Harbor Contractors
McKiernan Terry Corporation
Vulcan Iron Works
Bucyrus Erie Company
Ellicott Machine Corporation
Superior Lidgerwood Mundy Corporation
United States Pipe and Foundry Company
Carnegie Illinois Steel Corporation
McGraw Hill Publishing Company

To both the individuals and organizations by whom time end material for this thesis was contributed the writer is indebted.



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