Today’s the day for my little talk at the Hoboken Historical Museum. Tales of murder, corruption, and traffic engineering. All the things that make the world go ’round. I’d want to go even if I weren’t already supposed to be there.
The Hoboken Historical Museum, that is. That’s where I’ll be giving a talk on Sunday, June 24, as part of the museum’s program Driving Under the Hudson: A History of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels. The event is keyed to the 85th anniversary of the opening of the Holland Tunnel, which in turn leads to the Pulaski Skyway and the Route One Extension — the subject of my book The Last Three Miles: Politics, Murder, and the Construction of America’s First Superhighway. (The book, incidentally, now has its own Facebook page.) The entire project — recognized as America’s first superhighway — was built to carry Holland Tunel traffic out of Jersey City and across the Meadowlands as expeditiously as possible. As the book reveals, things didn’t go quite so smoothly as planned. There was a nasty labor war during the construction of the final stretch through Hudson County, now known as the Pulaski Skyway, that resulted in a murder trial, and the entire design of the Skyway was compromised by political interference and inexperience with the new field of traffic engineering. If you want to know why driving the Skyway offers all the scares of a rollercoaster ride with none of the pleasures, The Last Three Miles will give you the answers. If you want a look into a previously little-known chapter of the career of political boss Frank Hague, The Last Three Miles will open a panoramic view. And if you want a chance to say hellp and talk about the book some more, come to the Hoboken Historical Museum on Sunday, June 24, at 4 p.m.
This should be fun: I’m on the roster of featured speakers at the Hoboken Historical Museum, as part of its program Driving Under the Hudson: A History of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels. My book The Last Three Miles: Politics, Murder, and the Construction of America’s First Superhighway focuses on the Route One Extension project and the construction of what is now called the Pulaski Skyway, both of which were closely linked to the construction of the Holland Tunnel.
The whole project was spurred by the realization that millions of cars would come pouring out of the Holland Tunnel, only to eddy and stall in the decrepit streets of Jersey City and the inadequate roads cutting through the Meadowlands. A key player in the Holland Tunnel story was Jersey City political boss Frank Hague, whose demands for road improvements and fixtures for the tunnel approach contributed to the stress felt by the tunnel’s designer and head engineer, Clifford Holland.
There’s more, but we can go into all that on Sunday, June 24, at 4 p.m., which is when I’ll be speaking at the museum.