Looking Back: Building United Nations' Headquarters

Images show the early construction of a landmark that belongs to the entire world.

Mon November 14, 2016 - Northeast Edition #23
Edgar A. Browning


Four NYC contractors formed a joint venture to construct the United Nations headquarters in New York. The group, Fuller-Turner-Walsh-Slattery Inc., submitted the low bid of $24 million and was awarded the contract in January 1948. Slattery Contracting began preliminary demolition and excavation work at the building site in 1948 under a separate $500,000 contract. The UN site is located between First Avenue and East River Drive from 42nd to 47th streets. American Bridge Company of New York was awarded a contract for furnishing and erecting steel for the structure.

Author’s Photo Collection
A Lorain 820 shovel with a 2 cu. yd. (1.5 cu m) dipper loads a for-hire Sterling single axle chaindrive dump truck with blasted rock. A 10 ton (9 t) Euclid end dump on a demonstration is waiting to be loaded.
Author’s Photo Collection A Lorain 820 shovel with a 2 cu. yd. (1.5 cu m) dipper loads a for-hire Sterling single axle chaindrive dump truck with blasted rock. A 10 ton (9 t) Euclid end dump on a demonstration is waiting to be loaded.

Author’s Photo Collection
A view of the Lorain 820 shovel shot from above. The shovel is loading rock into a Slattery Mack LJ ten wheeler. Note the blasting mats in the foreground. Slattery used a Northwest 80-D, a Bucyrus-Erie 38-B and two Lorain 820 shovels on the project.
Author’s Photo Collection A view of the Lorain 820 shovel shot from above. The shovel is loading rock into a Slattery Mack LJ ten wheeler. Note the blasting mats in the foreground. Slattery used a Northwest 80-D, a Bucyrus-Erie 38-B and two Lorain 820 shovels on the project.

The heavy rock excavation work underway by Slattery Contracting at the UN site is shown. The excavations totaled 260,000 cu. yds. (198,784 cu m). The two Lorain 820 shovels are loading a fleet of Mack F-model single axle chain drive dump trucks.
The heavy rock excavation work underway by Slattery Contracting at the UN site is shown. The excavations totaled 260,000 cu. yds. (198,784 cu m). The two Lorain 820 shovels are loading a fleet of Mack F-model single axle chain drive dump trucks.

Author’s Photo Collection
American Bridge used a Manitowoc crawler crane to lift this building column at the UN building site on April 19, 1949.
Author’s Photo Collection American Bridge used a Manitowoc crawler crane to lift this building column at the UN building site on April 19, 1949.




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