Detroit & Canada Tunnel Company 1931

Detroit & Canada Tunnel Company 1931

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Detroit & Canada Tunnel Company 1931

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Beautifully engraved certificate from the Detroit & Canada Tunnel Company issued in 1929. This historic document was printed by the Central Banknote Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of an American woman shaking the hand of a Canadian woman. This item has the printed signatures of the company’s president ( Judson Bradway )and secretary ( A. Garden ) and is over 74 years old. The certificate is in excellent condition.
Certificate Vignette The Detroit-Windsor Tunnel is the only underwater international vehicular (automobile) tunnel in the world. Completed in 1930, the tunnel is a major border crossing and a vital socio-economic pipeline between the United States and Canada. Prior to its construction and that of the Ambassador Bridge one year earlier, cars and trucks crossed the Detroit River on car ferries. This cutaway shows how the tunnel drops down from Detroit, right, goes under the river and surfaces again in Windsor. Early in the 19th Century Detroiters expressed the need for both a tunnel and bridge to speed rail transportation across the river but well-organized opposition by marine shipping interests blocked any such project. Finally in 1871, ground was broken on a rail tunnel project near the foot of Detroit's St. Antoine Street. The railroad tunnel had a 15-foot bore, and at 135 feet under the river, workmen struck a pocket of sulphurous gas which made them deathly ill. The project was abandoned when none of the workers could be enticed to return to work. Eight years later work began on another tunnel that would connect Grosse Ile with Canada. The Michigan Central Railroad already had a bridge that connected Grosse Ile with the U.S. mainland. But expenses soared as unexpected limestone formations were encountered. Once again, the tunnel project was abandoned. When the Grand Trunk Railroad Tunnel under the St. Clair river at Port Huron opened in 1891, Detroit businessmen who feared that shipping of goods would be diverted to Port Huron demanded a tunnel be built at Detroit. The approaches were built as conventional box subways with the cut and cover method. This is the Canadian side. As a result, construction of the Michigan Central Railway Tunnel was begun in 1906 and was completed by 1910. The phenomenal growth of the automobile industry after the end of World War I caused renewed interest in another tunnel between Detroit and Windsor. In 1919, Detroit Mayor James Couzens, and Windsor Mayor E. Blake Winter, proposed construction of a tunnel for automobile and streetcar traffic as a memorial to the war dead. The idea was immediately popular with patriots on both sides of the river. But bureaucratic bickering and opposition from forces who planned to build the Ambassador Bridge threatened the project. But tunnel partisans refused to be defeated. One such visionary, Fred W. Martin, a Windsor Salvation Army Captain, said in a Detroit News article, that he was "inspired by God to have this tunnel built." But he didn't go to God. Instead he went to New York and convinced an architectural and engineering firm that "it would probably be six dozen Sundays or more before the politicians would agree on anything, so how about taking a flyer on this as a private project?" The firm, Parsons, Klapp, Brinckerhoff and Douglas, agreed to design the tunnel and guarantee its costs. Detroit, New York and Chicago bankers backed the the project. The underwater portion of the tunnel used these tube sections that were connected together above ground and then towed out into the river and sunk in place. And so it came to be the Detroit Windsor Tunnel emerged privately financed, privately built, and privately operated Russell Armstrong Sr, a consulting engineer and surveyor in Windsor, agreed to do the surveying of the Windsor side and to obtrain the necessary land titles. Armstrong did not get rich on the deal. "It was a very challenging time", he said. "The Ambassador Bridge was going up just before the tunnel started and there was a sort of a race to see who would finish first. The bridge won, but I still like the tunnel better." Judson Bradway, an ambitious supporter of the tunnel project and a successful businessman, won the appointment as the first president of the Detroit & Canada Tunnel Company as well as its subsidiary, the Detroit & Windsor Subway Company . Actual construction operations began in the summer of 1928 on both sides of the river. Because the international nature of the tunnel required customs and immigration offices, more than 25 buildings in addition to the tunnel had to be built. Steam shovels gulped the first bites of dirt in the $25 million project in May 1928. As workers on the U.S. and Canadian sides excavated approach tunnels sloping to the river's edge, barge crews on the river dug a 2,454-foot-long trench from shore to shore, dredging 700,000 tons of earth from the river bottom. The tubes have a diameter of 31 feet and are composed of 3/8"-thick steel plate reinforced at 12-foot intervals by octagonal diaphragms which also provide the form for an exterior concrete jacket. Using a 32-foot shield, the largest in North America at the time, the tunnelers, called "muckers" or "sandhogs," sliced away the sticky, gray clay with air-driver knives and passed it back through the shield to to others who moved it to the dump. The shield moved forward, pushed by 30 hydraulic jacks, at the rate of eight or ten feet a day. Behind it, workers lined the freshly excavated tunnel sides with steel plating. The river section was constructed by the "trench-and-tube" method. It was the most spectacular of all tunnel operations and involved the sinking of steel tubes in the trench dug across the

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