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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Steam shovel crew at Colonial Sand and Stone's Garden City plant, 1930
Steam shovel crew at Colonial Sand and Stone's Garden City plant, 1930. Photo courtesy Port Washington Public Library

Particles of the Past: Sandmining on Long Island, 1870s - 1980s

For over a century the high quality sand on Long Island was used in making the concrete that built New York City's skyscrapers, sidewalks, subways, and bridges. By 1930, 100 million tons of sand had been delivered from Port Washington, the major sand mining area, to metropolitan New York. Between 1870 and 1920,workers from all over Europe were drawn to the sand mining industry on Long Island. Out of dozens of companies that flourished in the 1920s, only one remains in operation today. As the work diminishes, memories grow stronger, and this project documents those memories in extensive tape-recorded interviews with dozens of memorists. Archival photos of the workers, their families, and the mining operation complement the audio tapes. A historic map of the Sands of Port walking tour is also included.

Originally submitted by: Gary L. Ackerman, Representative (5th District).



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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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