Clarkson University’s Beacon Institute will host the Beacon Historical Society at the Institute’s 199 Main Street Gallery on Wednesday, October 23 at 7 p.m. Dr. Michael Conrad, a business and environmental historian, and executive officer of Clarkson’s Beacon Institute, will deliver a talk titled "Born in Clay and Fire," which examines how Italian immigrants and African-American workers transformed Ice Age glacial clay into the brick building blocks of the New York Metropolis from 1880 to 1950. While highlighting the local contributions of the brick industry to Beacon, the talk also integrates the broader connections to the Hudson River Valley and New York State.
“Industrial commodity chains link the very infrastructure of our modern lives with distant environments,” Conrad said. “When we envision mining, we think of massive open-pit mines in the American West. Many are surprised to find that the brick industry has operated quarries along the Hudson River for nearly a century. The clay that once graced the river now forms the brick row storefronts of the Hudson Valley and the tenements of New York City.”
Dr. Conrad holds a Ph.D. in American environmental, urban, and business history from Stony Brook University. His research has examined the twentieth-century concrete aggregate industry along the Hudson River Valley and Long Island Sound. His expertise lies in determining how corporations manage material flows from production and consumption as well as investigating how laborers work in nature. Conrad works as Beacon Institute’s executive officer in charge of accreditation and business operations.
Wednesday’s talk will be held at the 199 Main Street Gallery on Clarkson’s Beacon Campus on the storefront floor. Zoom access available for Potsdam and Capital Region Campus. Please visit: https://zoom.us/j/194288328.
Clarkson University’s Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries ignites citizen science, user-inspired R&D and education through collaboration and creative innovation to inspire sustainable solutions for estuary and freshwater ecosystems throughout the Hudson Valley and across New York State.
True to its mission, the Beacon campus serves as both a research institute focused on healthy water solutions and a provider of educational services, including K-12, public and family, and professional graduate programs. Visit https://www.clarkson.edu/academics/beacon to learn more.
The event is sponsored by The Beacon Historical Society. BHS was formed in 1976, with a mission to preserve, procure, and present Beacon’s heritage and history. The Society’s collections contain more than 5,000 items including books, prints, documents, photographs, postcards, paintings, maps, and artifacts -- all relating to Beacon. Learn more at https://beaconhistorical.org/.