Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Little Bit of Detroit circa 1930

I have a picture of something that few living people in Detroit have seen. The water tunnel that was constructed from 1928-1930 under the supervision of John Percival, resident engineer. He was my grandfather.

The caption reads: Above is the new tunnel, blasted out of solid rock far below the Detroit River, which will become part of the new system (Waterworks park pumping station). The circular line indicates where the concrete is to go. Inspecting it from left, John Percival, resident engineer; E. A. Prokop, designing engineer; Torris Eide, assistant engineer; George H. Fenkell, board general manager; William T. Skrzycki, commissioner.

 New $800,00 Waterworks Pumping Station Opened. The caption reads: After Two Years Work, the new low-lift pumping station at Waterworks park was thrown into operation officially Wednesday by members of the board of Water Commissioners. The new equipment will be used as an auxiliary to the old pumps, which are soon to be torn down for an overhauling.

Those are 1928-1930 dollars. The pumping station and the tunnel are eighty years old in October.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. I have a clipped newspaper article about the death of six men in a blasting accident during the tunnel's construction. Also, Grandpa's badge designating him as a compressed air worker. Apparently, they could get the bends, and should be taken to the water tunnels, not the hospital!

  2. I thought I remembered something like that too.

    Dad got the bends really bad when he worked for Healy-Gargaro in the 1950's.

  3. I think the badge I have must be Dads. I really have very little knowlwdge of Mom and Dad prior to 1969. That's my first very clear memory of mom bribing the other kids in the neighborhood to say I looked adorable in my hideous SRB uniform...they were all dressed pretty for the first day of school at Ashcroft.

  4. William T. Skrzycki, was my great grandfather. Small world right?