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 Helping to Build the Silver Spade

By George F. Doughty

My father -- Ernie Doughty -- worked for Hanna Coal for thirty years, and was ultimately in charge of the Land Department. He managed acquisitions and maintained all the records on the company's holdings. which were extensive.

During high school and college I was able to get various summer jobs with the company. I worked two summers on the surveying crew. During the construction of the Spade we were asked on a couple of occasions to verify the elevation of the points of attachment of the boom. At the time the boom was resting horizontally. I am not certain why they wanted this information, but they asked us to determine it. As the junior member of the crew it was my job to carry a 12-foot rod to this point and hold it vertically so the elevation could be determined by the transit.

Even though the boom was laying flat it was still a couple stories above the ground. It was very wide but narrowed and sloped downward at the attach point. On one occasion it had been raining and the surface was wet. I got the job done, but not without some trepidation It was an experience I will not forget.

Working around those shovels was always exciting to me, and I thought I had one of the most interesting summer jobs any kid in engineering school could possibly get.

George F. Doughty is Executive Director of the Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority, 3311 Airport Road, Allentown, PA 18109-3040.

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