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tv   Cities Tour Trenton NJ PAAHTV ENTIRE  CSPAN  June 23, 2017 6:57pm-8:02pm EDT

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about power at all. >> robert caro talks about his auto project. looking at the evolution and exercise of political power in america. and he hears his progress on the next volume of his multipart biography of lyndon johnson. >> he had compassion from the beginning. but i wrote in the book, ambition was the overriding consideration with him. it was only when compassion and ambition coincided, when he was in the senate he realized if he want it's to be president, he has to pay the civil rights bill, that he really turns to this. then you say, was he feeling false? not at all. because all his life he had wanted to help poor people and particularly poor people of color. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. >> for the next hour, an american history tv exclusive. our cities tour visits trenton, new jersey.
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to learn more about its unique history. for six years now, we've traveled to cities across the u.s., to explore their literary and historic sites. you can watch more of our visits at cspan.org/citiestour. >> trenton became the state capital in 1790. trenton was selected because of its location. even though we're not in the geographic center of the state as many state capitals are. we are situated on the delaware river, equal justice between north jersey and south jersey. it made sense for trenton, because trenton by 1790 was already a household name. it was made famous, of course, by george washington and the battle of trenton. crossing the delaware river, 1776. christmas night. it was also, however, a center of commerce.
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william trent had established trenton. as a port town. a river port town. he could sail his merchant ships up as far as this point. up to the fall lines of the delaware. so it made sense to bring state government here as well in 1790. the building really evolved over the course of really 200 years. from 1792 to really 1991. 10 different architects. 16 major construction projects. where we're standing, however, in the rotunda was completed in 1889. so the first state house constructed in -- between1889. constructed by jonathan doan, a builder-architect in philadelphia. he constructed a very simple pounds,at a cost of 250 $400 today. it was overlooking the delaware
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river. we are fortunate to have portions of that building that survives today including the timbers that date back to 1792 area -- to the 1792. this is one of the only urban state capitals you enter into off a major thoroughfare. greeted by the governor's office, the treasurer's office. even the governor's office is within i shot of the front door. a current building, as we see the culmination of 10 different architects, 16 major construction projects. the very first edition, the jonathan doan construction was in 1845. he was a well-known philadelphia architect. it's enveloped the original 1792
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building. also the very first dome. it occurred on march 21. a gas leak,t it was but it has never been documented what caused the fire except it was devastating. a portion of it still survived, placed onn addition the building at that point. state house was constructed. it featured a very large
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portico. it was in the rotunda of the construction. they symbolize democracy in the sense of democracy. this did not stand here long enough. legislators walked by. governors walked by. , symbol real, i think that they have a role to play in representative democracy. this is about 105 feet from the base all the way up to the top of the dome and it is gilded in gold, symbolizing the fact that you can see the dome. you can see the statehouse. big shiny, put a
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gold dome. it also showcases the portraits of our early governors. the first being william livingston and circles the to the all the way up first floor. we go up, the most notable on the third floor, charles addison, who was the son of thomas edison, who served as governor. we walked through an arch, and that arch marks the location of the 1972 statehouse. as he passed through that arch, you see a second arch. door, thech is the second arch is the back door. you get a sense of how small the original instruction was. as the state grew, government grew and literally the building
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did as well. this was used as the governor's reception room, also where the governor holds press conferences. woodrow wilson is the only new jersey governor to become president. the porch that hangs of will miss at the statehouse is his gubernatorial portrait. woodrow wilson would recognize this room -- used this room as a reception room. we are in an area that is the cross all. what is interesting about this location, when you look down each hallway, you will note they were rather differently. the senate to my left, built in
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1903 and the general assembly down this hallway. if you look closely, you'll see the different architectural styles and different materials -- this is the example that after 10 different architects and 16 major construction projects, it did not always go with the addition that came before it your it makes our statehouse somewhat unique. this is a porcelain sculpture. it was made at the porcelain studio here in trenton. trenton has a very long history of ceramics. this is one of the last studio still operating today. porcelain being presented to has of state, popes, and we are very fortunate to have this piece, which is called the glory of new jersey. it was created in 1895 and
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represents four of our state symbols. our state tree is the red oak, the purple violet is the state flower, the honey bee is the state and sex, and the state bird. we are in the galley. it was built in 1891 by james moreland, who was a member of the assembly. the chamber features the edison chandelier hanging right in the center. it was installed by the edison lighting company. weighs over 5000 pounds. what occurrede is here in the chamber -- our first transcontinental phone call from new jersey was placed from this chamber to the new jersey exhibit at the world's fair in san francisco. on the walls we have portraits
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presidentst and 16th . both presidents had trenton connections. so washington's trenton connection was as general george washington fighting the title of trenton. he crossed the delaware river and marched the army to attack the hessians and british soldiers. lincoln visited the statehouse as part of his famous inaugural train trip. his train journey took him from springfield to washington and he stopped in many northern cities are much towns, and hamlets, as well as state capitals. in new jersey to address the legislature. new jersey was the only northern state that lincoln did not win the popular vote.
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by the time he arrived, six states had seceded from the union and the union and their was a confederate president in place. had to get reasons. he wanted to be a tourist. he idolized george washington. and he actually made reference to that in his speech to be legislature. of course, the second reason was a more political reason and that was the pending conflict, which, of course, was the american civil war. what was interesting about lincoln's visit to new jersey was in the other state capitals, he actually addressed current or joint sessions of the legislature. so he had one speech he was giving. for example, one speech in connecticut. by the time he arrived in new
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jersey, there was not a joint session. houseressed each separately, which meant he had to come up with a second speech extemporaneously. the second speech talked about trenton and how important it was to be winning of the american resolution -- american revolution. in his second speech, he addressed the members saying did not support him, but by the fact they recognized him, -- invited him, they recognized him as head of state. they also said, we are going through difficult times and as a family, we can work this through, but if we could not work through our difficulties, he was prepared to stamp down on tyranny, and he actually motioned with his foot. this is one of the first clear
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indications that lincoln was prepared to use force to keep the union together. arnold moses was a new jersey what is unique is how different the building is depending on which architect can -- constructs the wedding. it is a contrast to the general assembly we just came from. the senate architecture, i think, conveys a strong sense of the senate itself. hearkens backre to the origins of the senate, greek and roman architecture. traditionsalso takes back to the house of lords, the upper house of parliament. i think the architecture communicates that sense of
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formality, if you will. one of the features of the room is probably best known for the murals at the panama canal, but the murals represent liberty and prosperity. the middle mural depicts liberty -- here she is holding a musket and prosperity is holding a horn of abundance. livingston is up there. he was the first governor. until 1790.om 1776 george mcclellan's name is up there, of course, a civil war general, later one term governor. witherspoon is up there. he was the signer of the declaration of independence. on theabout to embark restoration of the executive statehouse. that is a portion of the
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statehouse that faces state streets and includes the governor's office and all of the mayors offices related to the office of governor. if you are walking by the statehouse, if you will notice there are windows that have been boarded up. there are work crews and theiers in preparation for executive statehouse, which is set to begin sometime this summer. a workingt this is building. this is not as monumental as statef the other buildings. as you walk in off a major thoroughfare, you are greeted by the lieutenant governor's office . and then as you enter the building you get that sense of change.
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walk through the building, you see how eclectic the building looks, just as our state is eclectic. >> the museum is located in downtown trenton. william trenton was a scottish based out of philadelphia. his business, despite its ups and downs, did make him very well the. inpurchased his first home philadelphia and the second one right here where we are standing. his business dealt with shipping, importing and exporting things like rome -- like from emmaline, and the slave trade. some of the things that he exported were slaves from the
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andes and west africa. he chose this location for its nearness to the delaware river. whereso inland routes they could no longer pass from the delaware river, they went through new england on the side. he brought this through to philadelphia and anywhere else that needed them. when mr. trent came near, he became not only a major employer. but a major people ind a lot of the town. at one point he laid out the major streets and planning. people used to call it trent's town. from trent town, we get trenton. this was his summer home. he moved here with his second
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wife and their one child. this house was built in the early american georgian architectural style. , but are a lot of things he started construction in 1715, completed in 1719. he lifted her as his summer residence and then from 1720 12 all your residence. we are currently standing in the entrance way. this would have been a multipurpose room. you would have been greeted by his butler, who would have been liberated. he would have had servants and slaves in colonial dress appropriate to their stature. was exhibited as a waiting area. he did see business here. we do have chairs set up.
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i'm going to bring you to one of the first rooms we have here to show visitors. this is the front parlor. the way it is set up currently, it is full of antics. this is nothing but william and mary furniture. mr.e are unfortunately not trent's personal items, but these are antics of the time. if they were imported to as any later, these crowns would have been hacked off and we would not have wanted any affiliation with the british crown. they really are a great find. you will see the intricate scrollwork. haswilliam and mary period lots of different influences. we see them in the chairs. mr. trent was a wealthy merchant and he did entertain a lot of
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importance clients for his business as well as a general entertaining in the community. he would have wanted to show that off. anybody and everybody off his same status would have really spent time here and they would have engaged in dining like this. there would have been brass handles on the door. if you take a look on the floorboards, pretty much everything is the same size. this is something called the kings board. item.s a highly taxed .hipping, army projects mr. trent has it on his front
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parlor floor, putting my saying he does not care and it is equivalent to having a very nice car in your driveway. mr. tripp was showing off and this is the way he would have done it or it he was a wealthy merchant. what that meant was he bought a lot of luxury goods. had a lot of items in probate at the time of his death. so, we have come downstairs to the in-house kitchen. the in-house kitchen would not have been the most common thing during this time. the reason being, this was quite a fire hazard. wealthy mant was a and he got what he wanted. hence the in-house chicken. kitchen hearth.
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this would have had the power of the rotisserie. there are two weights that would pull the spit down and they would continue to craig everything and wants the weight has come to the bottom, they would rewind everything and it would term -- it would turn on its own. this would have been used for baking purposes. it would have had a sturdy iron door. ,ompared to a modern kitchen it's everything all in one. this is the upstairs portion of the house. this is the campaign bed.
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this would have been used as a portable way to find rest and/or shelter. this version is overly large. decorated with printed, floral, cotton sheet. anything that would have been printed with cottonwood have both of these are adjacent to a hallway closet for mr. and mrs. trent or one for each of them. so, he did not spend a lot of time here unfortunately. he is one of the residents who spent the least amount of time here. so, from 1719 21724 was the tenure here and that did not include visiting part-time. onhe actually passed away
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christmas day. unexpected.s he died of what they are teaming as an apoplectic fit, either a stroke or heart attack. he did not have a well. two did a probate inventory years after he died. after mr. trent died, there are 20 different residents of the house. mansion,the governor's the mayor is addressed. we have a patriot living here at different times, of course, and we have several private residences, the last of which give to the house to the city at the end of his tenure in 1929. this was not the best year for
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this country. but it will come up again with help from the wpa. since thee been open 1930's or so. i would really like to impart to visitors how important this house is for the development and the continuous history that comes along with the area. this house has seen a lot of by people who have lived here and taking care of the property. we have colonial times, revolutionary four times, to present day and this history is very important, things we cannot and howuch as slavery the extension of colonialism brings about changes to this area that we see today. >> [indiscernible]
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fire. [gunshot] 18they talk about the century culture and how the french and indian war and revolutionary war are confused in the minds of most americans and rightfully so. it's a very complicated time to understand that within 25 years we went from being culturally british to not wanting to be british at all and when to break away into one of the most liberal and free governments in the world. british troops would have been quartered here during the winter months of the french and indian war. they needed a place to come during the wintertime. the british brought their troops to the eastern side of the colonies and the french brought their troops up. when they were quarter to, they were mostly put in -- when they were quartered in cities, they were mostly put in inns and
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taverns. the crown said, it is wartime. we need to make concessions. you will be paid. they would show up in people's homes. they would stay for the winter. a lot of people were not happy about it. enough dominant colonists started to -- prominent columnist or to the petition and the crown funded five barracks throughout the colony of new jersey. we had one in burlington. you see it followed the route one corridor. those are the five barracks throughout new jersey with only one still standing today. chipper tog is very what it would have looked like in the 18th century. the autumn balcony would not .ave existed
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we have archaeological evidence of there being some landing. -- the barracks section 17 -- 17 in 1770 -- in 78. the american revolution. these are people fighting for the king of england on behalf of of the counties. we have a jacket that would have been warned by a regular enlisted soldier. this would have fit two to three soldiers are bad, fortis six soldiers per bunk. that's a total of 218 soldiers per room. you may be seeing these bed thinking they are really short. they are tiny and they are short. we were not shorter as people back in the 18th century.
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our nutrition was pretty good back then. so the average height of a man would be around five foot 8, 5'10". close were just really together. you dealt with what you had and honestly, this was better than sleeping on the floor. sleeping on the ground in upstate new york in the middle of winter. ornate much more looking. it has a brick face. . different lifestyle. decisiona clear between the officers who were definitely the middle to upper and the british society soldiers, who were more working class. you have this really grand hallway in front of you with ace their case at the end. there are two rooms on the left that could be used as bedrooms or offices. you have this prussian blue that is extremely popular in classy places in the 18th century.
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this is the long room. this would have been known for dining and entertaining. people would come here, they would play games, dying. they had the finest food brought i. we have above the fireplace a portrait of george ii. you definitely would have seen this in most homes, especially government buildings and officers homes. we have this setup and design to be a little bit more like an quarters.- ensign's british soldiers, often pretty young. maybe the second or third born son in a wealthy family in england. purchasing a position for their son. he was not going to receive an inheritance. the military was a great option. he would learn about different things on the battlefield, study at his desk. this can't bed is a little less
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ornate than you might imagine, but the bed comes apart and fits into that box at the foot of the bed and can be brought into the battlefield. so, while you are out in the field, you're not sleeping on the ground. it's a lot more comfortable. pretty nice. wall.e a musket on the powderhorn. also a couple different recreational things. we have adowsill paint set. a lot of them were educated. they wanted to maintain that even when they were at work. they kept contact with their families back in england. we had soldiers here between 7058 and 1776. they really did not see a lot of fighting. they were out in the battlefield in upstate new york, ticonderoga , down toward the carolinas. new jersey is a good point on
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the eastern seaboard, so it's really easy to get troops in and out of here. you could get ships up here. it's really easy to load and unload soldiers and supplies. ownede this large colony the link and there was not much to do with it in that timeframe. it did need to be taken care of. there was usually a caretaker who lived on the ground, on the premises, making sure that things were not taking place on the ground. this was an empty building for the most part. whoever had control of trenton would put soldiers i inure, sometimes use it as a storage or supply area. we do know that it led to the battle of trenton. during the month, when we had british soldiers here, the night before the battle of trenton, the hessians were already in
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trenton area they were taking over the houses. in this building there may not have been many or any hessian soldiers. we believe that they would have --n cap followers -- dashcam camp followers. loyalists. they thought that following along with the hessians was a way of making sure they in their families would be safe. also swearing allegiance to the king, saying we followed along with the hessians, we provided help and assistance with them. the night on the battle of women, older men following along. they quickly left. they heard gunshots in the morning. they got out as quickly as they could, despite the weather. trenton was safely in patriot hands. this building took on a really incredible life.
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washington -- we don't know if he stepped foot in year, but he definitely knew we existed. he thought this was an adequate building for running a military hospital. he said that all troops needed to be inoculated with smallpox. -- he wasis set up to in charge of running the barracks when it was a hospital. charge of smallpox vaccinations. they are very different them people are familiar with. it is not just a shot in the arm, you do not feel great for two or three days. this is a full on disease. it is a mild form, but it is still a full on form of a very deadly, contagious disease that covers your body in boils and festering wounds. you are sick. you have a fever.
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you are not able to keep food down if you are able to eat at all. you can imagine this room, and a on the floor, 3, 4 soldiers here, new recruits. they are so excited to go on to the battlefield to fight for america and the first thing that happens is they are given a deadly disease. that all happened in these rooms. in the 1780's, the army disbanded. if you don't have an army, you don't need a barracks. have a needd not for it. they auctioned this off. it was a public auction. it was purchased by abraham patterson and of them. the daughters of the american revolution came together into an agreement that the state really wanted a beautiful icon of new --sey's contributes you contribution. we were the second largest public building.
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it was impressive. you came into town and saw a building of this magnitude area just outside of town, it was a pretty domineering right. we really do want to maintain this emblem of trenton's history . we want to bring that through every day to all of our visitors. >> these are the times that try men's souls. the summertime patriot will in this crisis shrank from his country, but he who stands now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. thomas payne will write "the american crisis." it is published on december 19 in "the pennsylvania journal." washington has it read to the soldiers to try to bolster morale. the situation is dire due to the defeats washington has suffered.
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his recruitment is almost nonexistent. they need a victory. they need something positive going. washington is well aware, desperate for it. the victory at trenton, when they get it, will be a huge morale boost, confidence builder. the result will be recruitment. it will encourage men to come forward to join the army. this is the site where general washington on christmas night, and the continental army, landed. the boats would have been landed up and down the banks for some distance. the army crossed during the night. washington's army had about 2400 men, 18 cannons, 100 horses. washington was hoping to have everyone across by midnight. it wasn't until about 4:00 the next morning on december 26, the army was across and ready to march to trenton. the prelude to our story is the
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new york campaign in the summer and fall of 1776. the british landed an army on staten island shortly after the declaration of independence. there were a series of defeats for general washington, beginning with the battle of long island, followed by harlem heights, white plains, the capture in new york as well, and the defeats at fort washington and fort lee. really, fort lee was an abandoning of the fort and important supplies, and that began in late november the retreat through new jersey. washington fell back through new jersey. he was hoping to defend new jersey, but because of the defeats, morale was sinking fast. he was counting on the new jersey militia as well as pennsylvania militia to come forward and strengthen his army. they were not turning out in any significant numbers. he had to continue retreating
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through new jersey. halfway across the state, he orders the gathering of the boats along the delaware river. he sends men forward to the river to start confiscating all the boats. for 70 miles north of philadelphia, everything that floats is being gathered by the army so the british will not have any boats left across the river. washington, when he arrives in trenton, the army will begin crossing the delaware river, that is the retreat crossing, as i like to phrase it. very important to save the army from the british pursuit. that is december 7 into december
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8, when the army crosses. the last boats are crossing, they arrive in trenton. that protects the american capital of philadelphia and gives washington valuable breathing room. both sides are very well informed, through spies, of the other's positions. he has good information about trenton. he is desperate to get a victory going. he is also under the burden that comes with the first of the new year, january 1, nearly half of his soldier's enlistments are going to expire. he is going to lose about half of his army without fighting a battle by january 1. he is desperate to use the army before it dwindles away. he will cross here on christmas night, eight miles north of trenton, to get the army across undetected. he waits until darkness. it is a very dark night. there is ice in the river. there is ice freezing on the
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banks. they have to break it away so the boats can land. it is a long night. to add extra drama, during the night at around 11:00, a nor'easter snowstorm kicks in. freezing rain, hail, snow, and wind blowing like a hurricane. this was a classic nor'easter that was very miserable. it would continue into the next morning during the battle and would be an important factor during the battle, because once the muskets get wet, you have a hard time getting a spark and fire. i think it was john greenwood, he got across earlier in the night and had a long wait. they were tearing down fence rails. the johnson ferry house on the hill back here probably suffered quite a bit of material damage to the army. they were tearing down fence rails to build fires to keep warm during the snowstorm.
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greenwood writes that he spent the night in front of a bonfire. when his front was facing the fire, his back was freezing. when his back was facing the fire, his front was freezing. he spent the night spinning around in front of a fire trying to keep warm. colonel knox, in charge of the crossing, one of the soldiers wrote that you could hear his booming voice during the night over the crash of the ice and the river. it would have been a noisy, chaotic situation locally with the bonfire and soldiers trying to keep warm. the initial troops that crossed were sent inland to set up a perimeter to capture anybody who happened to be out. the element of surprise is key. anybody who would be out would be brought into the line so they would not give warning of the attack. the list of characters for the crossing, there are quite a few well-known officers. the first is colonel knox, in
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charge of the crossing. colonel john glover, his men were manning the boats. there were a lot of sailors. you have division commanders, general nathanael greene and general john sullivan. they are going to be leading two separate marches to trenton. you also have alexander hamilton with the new york artillery. he will be an aide for washington later on in the war. you have a young, 18, lieutenant james monroe. he would become the fifth president of the united states. you have quite a few of the founding fathers in the army at this point. once the army is across, they had to wait, the artillery took some time to get across. it is about 4:00 in the morning on december 26.
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the army has a nine mile march ahead of them. i think it is john greenwood who wrote about the march. he says we marched no faster than a 10-year-old could walk, and stopping frequently. there was a line of march, numerous halts and starts. it took about four hours to go the nine miles. there was a crossroads. the army divided into two columns. they had about a four mile march from there. washington accompanied general green's column, which came in along the northeast side of town. general sullivan came in a long river road. within minutes of each other, they encountered the guard posts on the edge of town and forced them into town. this is a pivotal moment of the revolution. the crossing of the delaware christmas night, followed by the victory act trenton, is the game saver, in my view. to many, including washington, the british certainly, they felt
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the war was practically over. they were ready to wrap this up. we needed a victory. trenton is a small battle. 900 hessians are captured. but the morale effect is huge. it is almost viewed by the population at the time as a miracle event. >> from my present experience, i can safely assert that wire rope deserves the preference over hemp rope in all situations much exposed and where strength and durability is required." roebling, 1843. >> the great old and kate bridge -- the great golden gate bridge was taking shape. the country watched with
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fascination as the spinning of the mighty cables proceeded over san francisco. one of the most ambitious engineering projects of its day. the majesty of the golden gate bridge was apparent even before the great span was completed. ms. mcmickens blair: one of the most important lessons i believe we can take away from the roebling family and company is that innovation is real. there is a don't tell us it cannot be done attitude. we can do this, we can innovate, we can make something we have thought about come to being, and by that ingenuity and engineering, we can change the way people live their lives in a positive way. john a roebling became an engineer. he studied at the royal academy in prussia, where he was from. he realized america had some of the most amazing structures. he was interested in bridges. around 1847 or so, he came to the united states, planted himself in saxonburg outside of
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pittsburgh. he started farming. what is an engineer doing farming? not much. the pennsylvania railroad was having issues developing ways to pull ships and trains over mountainous areas. they were using hemp rope, they often would break. john roebling saw a problem he gets off with engineering practice and know-how. after taking his idea to the railroad system, they said if you come up with the idea and make it work, we will buy it from you. he set up an engineering lab on his own farm and came up with a way to use wire to make rope. he took steel, turned it into wire, turned that wire into rope, and transformed the world. the most famous structures in the world are associated with roebling and his company. the brooklyn bridge, people are familiar with that iconic bridge. the design of john roebling, the mind of roebling is in that bridge.
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the golden gate bridge, the great cables of the golden gate bridge, john roebling is famous for having spun the largest cables at the time and largest span for a number of years. roebling is known for having built the very first bridge over the niagara gorge, a double-decker bridge that could carry trains on top and people in carriages underneath on a toll road.
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even the george washington bridge design is a structure built by roebling. we are looking at a photo from 1935 as roebling's bridgman begin to wrap the golden gate bridge cables. this phenomenal, once-used-only technology of having six travelers take individual pieces of wire back and forth across the water to go across and up on the towers, to meet in the middle, transfer those. you see them wrapping the cables, as they begin to get toward a later stage of the installation.
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it is important to know that each piece of wire, each wire rope was cut to measure before they even traveled, by roebling, by train to philadelphia, then loaded on boats, taken through the panama canal to get to california just to become part of what is the largest suspension bridge in the world. you can see workmen walking on the catwalks on the site. this was the first time they ever used nets below them. there are photos we have in our archive of gentlemen building above the cloud cover. there were times when they were higher in the sky than the clouds. when we see pictures of that beautiful orange icon that rises in the sky, we know it is because of people right here at roebling who made this deal, made the cables and put them in place.
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we are looking at a drawing of a unique structure, one of the most important pieces of technology in the building of the brooklyn bridge. these wooden structures were underneath the water and made it possible for the workers to dig down into the bedrock and sink and sink and sink those caissons down. so much of the weight of suspension bridges requires that the cables are connected to those towers, and they bear such a lot of the load. these caissons on both sides of the bridge, both ends of the bridge, he come part of the
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-- they become part of the permanent structure, they were filled with cement and remain underneath the east river. they are still part of the structure. you can imagine, it is 1869, not a shovel of dirt has been turned at the site or location of the brooklyn bridge, but john roebling and his eldest son are there surveying. as they are standing on the pier, a ferry boat approaches and crashes into the pier. it crushes roebling's foot and it ultimately becomes a mortal injury because he contracts tetanus. not being one who believes in traditional medicine -- he believed in water therapy, he throws the doctors out of the apartment where he was living and staying and work and says, water, water. they kept pouring water on the wound. this, of course, does not work. tetanus is not a fun experience, nor is any illness, but it is an excruciating way to go.
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he suffers and passes within days, and washington roebling, his eldest son, becomes the chief engineer on the brooklyn bridge project. it took an additional 13 years to finish the bridge. there was a point at which roebling's sons company was the largest employer in trenton. ultimately, his company, the company owned by his sons, became one of the largest employers in the state. it is an amazing thing to think that this small family with these ideas about structures and building and engineering and metallurgy and what could be done, they changed the way business was done in trenton. when you drive through trenton, you see now buildings that still stand where the trenton works were located. you see them transformed into
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buildings were people are performing or buying groceries. these are buildings that have been kept and preserved for a reason. they are part of the fabric of what makes trenton trenton. when you drive across the bridge and you see from the other side the sign that says trenton makes the world, the roebling's were part of that. the unique thing about the company was they had made a decision to make their own steel. roebling's son was following in his father's footsteps and was at odds with his uncle. -- and his eldest brother washington, who was also an engineer, they were sort of at .dds
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charles knew he had a hunch and it was the right hunch and so he followed that. in 1904, he comes to this area, right along the delaware. very accessible in a short time to places like philadelphia. easily accessible space. a little further from trenton that they might have wanted because people would hear the name roebling and the acreage prices would go up. he went a little further out, dressed plainly and thought -- bought about 150 acres of land. he begins immediately hiring a force of people to come in and build. not only the new steel mill, but the town. a uniquely build and design -- uniquely built and designed company town. hewas said that charles said
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had the building fever bad. he had to have an outlet for boundless energy, and that is where the village of roebling sprang up. looking at a map at what was here, it is hard to fathom when you now think about what you see today. you see our main gate building, which is here. we are right here, standing inside this building. when you go out into our mill yard space, you can see the old time office, which ultimately became a shoe shop. you still see off in the distance, buildings 92 and 93, where the famous and amazing piece of technology, the wire rope stretcher, remains. other than that, you don't see
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all of these buildings and get the gravity of what was here. we are right here on the delaware river. we are right here along that wonderful railroad for the pennsylvania railroad company. the camden and amboy line. and we are right here up against what is on the other side. you have our industry and daily life right here in the village of roebling. from main street on down, everything from homes and schools to boarding houses and a general store, roebling in was roebling inn was the only place in town you could buy alcohol and have weddings and so forth. all of this in a privately owned town owned by the roebling family, built at the same time they were building their company. it makes it one of the most unique of about 2500 at the time, company-owned towns. it was not unusual at the time for companies to have their own towns, but they were not always great places to live. this is one of the places where,
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because trials and his family -- charles and his family believed workers observed a good life and they would work harder if they lived in a place they could be comfortable and safe, clean and have their families raised in a comfortable place, they believed they would get the best out of those workers and they were right. and so roebling stands even , today as a testament to that. it still looks a great deal like it did, when you look at the archival photos. really looks a lot like it still. all of the houses are still standing. all 460 homes are still standing. so, for the company for the , roebling company, the heyday, their biggest boom would been during world war ii. there were times when there were 15,000 workers right here, coming through.
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they were building and making products that were needed and important to the effort of the united states and its military. there was a lot they were required to do. that was the really big boom for the company. it was also one of the hardest times, because at the same time, unionization started to come into the town and company and infiltrate what they had laid the groundwork of this beneficial relationship between workers and the company owner. the unionization began to creep in. there were issues of needing to upgrade. so if you can imagine, steel , made in cold run furnaces needing to turn over to electric everywhere. and the competition for the same product. once the product is out there, steel began to move overseas in terms of manufacturing.
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there were wonderful things about that heyday, but also difficulties. in 1947, as the world war is starting to wind down and business is changing, the roebling company makes a decision to begin selling the homes it owns here in roebling to the workers. those who live in the houses can purchase them if they want to buy them. if not, others can purchase homes. ultimately, that was a decision to begin the work of divesting themselves, of selling the company. within several years, 1953, the roebling company sells its company to colorado fuel and iron, they take over and run it as a steel mill for another 12 years or so. in that timeframe, steel is being manufactured more and more overseas, money is tight or production is down because the war is over. how do they stay afloat? eventually, cf&i begin to sell off pieces of the business here. whether it was the flat wire being sold to another company, or the copper mills, by 1973 and
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1974, both the trenton works and the roebling company here in roebling, new jersey are closed down. colorado fuel and iron goes out of his nose, shuts locations down, and a silence falls over this place that had never really been hurt before. you can imagine, it was a difficult time. sort of a testament to the fortitude and resilience to the people who had lived and worked here for many generations at that point, they continued to go on and the town remains. -- you can imagine, it was a difficult time. sort of a testament to the fortitude and resilience to the people who had lived and worked
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here for many generations at that point, they continued to go on and the town remains. when you drive through, look at the buildings, the old general store, the original bank building, the original inn, all the houses along the river. when you drive through and see it, you feel the history, you see the history. you can imagine, especially when you put that against looking at old photos and you see what life was like, you visit the museum here and take a walk through the museum, you can see what life was like here, and you feel that even now today as you walk through the village of roebling. >> our visit to trenton is an
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exclusive. we showed it today to introduce cities tour.'s you can watch more of our visits at www.c-span.org/citiestour. tv,his weekend on book saturday at noon, from the franklin roosevelt presidential library, the annual roosevelt reading festival, featuring president tatian's -- presentations about president result. also, "countdown to pearl harbor." aso the story of a father and daughter in the gilded age. the untold story of the partnership that defined the
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presidency. and "his final battle." and 88:00, a conversation with gay talese. >>mr the books i have published in the last couple years are the ame odd characters, that 24-year-old guy was why -- was writing about. talese talks about his books in the last 60 years. to writee: i wanted about unknown people, or a little lady who clean the offices of the chrysler building at 4:00 in the morning, or some dorm on -- doorman outside the plans of hotel. i wanted to write about what it was like to be bus driver in

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