Important Concrete Projects in U.S. History

Important Concrete Projects in U.S. History

Concrete has been used around the globe for thousands of years. Ancient Romans were the first to practice the widespread use of concrete, and by 200BC they were successfully implementing the material in the majority of their construction. One of the first uses of concrete in modern United States was in New York in 1835 for the construction of a Greek revival house. The world’s first reinforced concrete skyscraper, The Ingalls Building, was built in 1903 in Cincinnati, Ohio. And the first concrete road in the country is found in Bellefontaine, Ohio, which dates back to 1891. Today, you can still see a city’s block worth of this original concrete (some has been replaced by more modern paving materials), and it’s now known as the “Oldest Concrete Street in America.” The Logan County Historical Society’s historical marker states: “America’s first concrete streets were those which surrounded this court house. Concrete was first used in 1891 to provide an 8-foot strip along Main Street where horses were hitched. Two years later Court Avenue was paved with concrete made from native marl supplied by the Buckeye Cement Company…”

Since then, concrete popularity continued to grow, which in turn has grown the infrastructure around the country. The Empire State Building, constructed in an astounding 1 year and 45 days, boasts 102 stories and uses 10 million bricks on its exterior. It was the first building in the world to be more than 100 stories tall (although many of the stories are unusable and 16 stories are part of the spire). The White House is another popular structure in the country, built between 1792 and 1800 by architect James Hoban. The White House has 132 rooms, which include the Oval Office, the press conference room, a bowling alley, and a chocolate shop.

The Brooklyn Bridge in New York was a complicated construction project and contains some pretty amazing engineering feats for modern history. It was constructed between 1869 and 1883 and claimed the lives of 27 construction workers while it was being built. Of course, the Hoover Dam has to make the list, and it was another extremely complicated concrete project. It also claimed many lives, 96 to be exact, but because it employed over 21,000 people during the Great Depression, workers were happy to sign up. The dam was the tallest of its kind at the time and still creates hydroelectric power today.

Also built during the great depression, the Golden Gate Bridge project created thousands of jobs at a critical time for our country. It was completed in 1937 and continues to be an icon of the west coast. The Golden Gate Bridge project was the first construction project in the US to require hard hats on the job site. A more recent project, the CityCenter in Las Vegas takes up about 17 million square feet and is the largest privately funded project in American history. It opened in 2009 and was developed by MGM Resorts and Dubai World.

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