Circa 1900, my mother’s family. Grandma Gokey’s father owned Syracuse Steel and Engineering. Here’s a great photo of my great grandfather with his construction crew. He engineered, manufactured and built the steel bridges across the Erie Canal in New York.
Hard to imagine the magnitude of this operation. Manufacturing steel, securing government contracts, engineering these structures, creating temporary dams for each of the 18 bridges, building the structures, managing the business and being on site with workers. This work was done without phones, computers, faxes, overnight mail service, fast food, cars, etc. This was before there were trucks and highways. He literally built the infrastructure that fostered the growth of towns and cities.
I recall my grandmother talking about her father as if he was a normal guy. She was a pilot in the 1950’s, and partner in my grandfather’s business called “CITY GAS” – the company that brought natural gas to Florida in the mid-1900’s. My mother was a champion in everything she accomplished – Real Estate, mortgages, development, catering, home and commercial design, and an unbelievable cook. The thing I remember about her most is she never compromised her values. She had more integrity than anybody I know.