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Seaway at 50: The workers remember

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50 years ago this summer, the first freighters slipped through the locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Seaway realized a decades-old plan to open Great Lakes ports to vessels in the Atlantic Ocean. It brought some economic development to the North Country, but also pollution and invasive species. And the waters that rose up behind the huge Moses-Saunders power dam flooded whole villages, forcing families to leave everything they'd ever known. Tomorrow we'll hear the story of the Lost Villages in Ontario. But today we get a sense of the vastness of the project from an oral historian who interviewed the people who built it. Claire Puccia-Parham is a history professor at Siena College in Albany and a Watertown native. She's published a book about the Seaway workers entitled The St. Lawrence Power Seaway and Power Project: An Oral History of the Greatest Construction Show on Earth. She and some of the workers she interviewed will be speaking Thursday night in Massena. Puccia-Parham told David Sommerstein many Seaway workers still live in or around St. Lawrence County.

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David Sommerstein
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