John, a third generation Mohawk ironworker who helped raise One World Trade, photographed by Melissa Cacciola, via Melisssa Cacciola
“Skywalkers: a Portrait of Mohawk Ironworkers at the World Trade Center,” opens today at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The exhibit features photographer Melissa Cacciola’s tintype portraits of Kahnawake Mohawk ironworkers who volunteered in rescue efforts after 9/11 and helped raise One World Trade Center, Towers 2, 3, and 4, and the Calatrava Transportation Hub.
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While we take for granted the paths and roads we use on a daily basis, it’s interesting to find out how they came to be. It’s not a new concept that paths worn by the comings and goings of early dwellers and subsequent settlers in a particular area became roads, streets and thoroughfares, often with names that reflect their beginnings. Brooklyn Heights Blog (via Viewing NYC) shares some insight into Brooklyn’s familiar roads that began as Native American trails on a 1946 map titled “Indian Villages, Paths, Ponds and Places in Kings County.”
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Roger Horne, a Mohawk Ironworker in the Raising Gang, ca. 1970 via the Smithsonian
The Empire State Building. The George Washington Bridge. The United Nations. The Woolworth Building. 30 Rock. The Seagram Building. Lincoln Center. The Waldorf Astoria. Virtually all of New York’s most iconic structures were raised in part by Mohawk Native American ironworkers. Since 1916, when Mohawk men made their way to New York to work on the Hell Gate Bridge, ironworkers from two Native communities, Akwesasne (which straddles Ontario, Quebec, and New York State) and Kahnawake (near Montreal), have been “walking iron” across the city.
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