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Laborers, Camps, and Community

A temporary village was built to house, feed, educate and tend to the medical needs of up to 4,000 laborers.  This camp near Brown’s Station, contained dormitory-style barracks, equipped with lights and running water, where single workers lived; 200 cottages for married men and their families; a sewage disposal plant and paved lighted streets.  There was a hospital, three churches, police and fire stations, a bank, several stores, post office, a bakery turning out 5,000 loaves of bread a day and schools. 

”Liquid Assets: A History of New York City’s Water System” by, Diane Galusha 

A significant number of the laborers on the Ashokan Reservoir were immigrants just arriving to the United States and African Americans from southern states.  The majority of the Europeans were Italian, but there were also Austrians, German, Swedish, Russian, Finnish, and Polish workers.  

Unskilled workers on the reservoir received from $1.20 to $1.60 per day.  Machinest, pipe fitters, pumpmen, and plumbers earned $2.00 per day.  A stonemason would make $3.00 per day and a powderman would get $10.16 per week.

-“The Last of the Handmade Dams: The Story of the Ashokan Reservoir”, by Bob Steuding