Earl Edward Smith - construction photos

Earl Edward "Smitty" Smith
1900 - 1982

Construction Photos

I am scanning over 50 photos that were taken of or by my grandfather, Earl Smith, at various construction sites that he worked on.  He operated cranes and shovels at many locations around New York state and northeastern Pennsylvania near the border with New York - possibly also other states in the northeast - from around the late 1920s or early 1930s through at least the 1950s.  Identifying the locations of these is difficult because Grandpa usually never bothered to label his photos.  I put about a dozen of them on this website - will try to get around to the others later.  I think they're all interesting, but it will take time to get the rest organized and uploaded.

The links below will take you to the few photos of Grandpa's that either have been identified by location or have been sorted into categories by similar subject matter.  The rest of the page below the links contains miscellaneous unidentified photos - I hope to try to sort these further or at least split them into more than one page so that it doesn't take forever to load them all.  Near the bottom of the page are a couple of stories and recollections about my grandfather and his shovels.

The Steam Shovel Register is a web site listing steam shovels and cranes that still exist in various places around the world.  There are many photos on this page of machines that have been restored to operating condition.  PLEASE NOTE:  There are many large images on their website, so if you have a slow connection, it may take quite awhile to load.

Members of the Historical Construction Equipment Association collect and display old construction equipment.  Their website has some great photos of equipment shown and run at some of their national conventions.

Miscellaneous Construction Photos

My late relative Warren Van Kleeck remembered the following:

"I remember, as a youngster, traveling with Mom and Dad to somewheres in PA. where Uncle Smitty was operating a power shovel.  I was in awe of the big machine, and years later, for a short period of time I became a heavy equipment operator for Geo. M. Brewster & Son on the NYS Thruway construction 1953- 1954, and I was informed I would be going to Brazil, and thus ended my career, and back to the world of trucks."

I was told that back in the days when the cranes and shovels ran on steam, the operators owned their own steam whistles and carried them from job site to job site.  My grandfather, Earl Smith, had two of these whistles - my uncle has one and my brother has the other.  A couple of years ago (I was not home at the time and found out about this later), my brother got curious what the thing sounded like, so he hooked it up to his air compressor.  His curiosity was satisfied as well as that of most of the neighbors.  I don't think he has blown the whistle since then.

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