Averell Harrimans shipbuilding yard 1The freighter Watonwan prior to launch into the Delaware River from one of the 12 slipways at the Harriman shipbuilding yard. 

Bristol Borough Owes a Boatload to a WWI-Era Shipping Magnate/Railroader 

By Ken Knickerbocker
via the BucksCo.Today/American Community Journals web site

Railroad heir W. Averell Harriman was responsible for developing a whole new township in Bristol Borough in the run-up to World War I and as the global conflict unfolded. Carl LaVO tracked the details for the Bucks County Courier Times.

Harriman — whose father amassed wealth by controlling several railroads, a steamship line, and Wells Fargo & Co. (the transport company, not the bank) — saw an opportunity in the growing sentiment to join World War I in Europe.

He realized that thousands of American troops would be deployed to the old continent with no way to get there. He knew they needed ships, so he decided to build them.

After winning government contracts to build upwards of 60 transport ships before the war was declared, he needed to expand. He therefore shifted focus from his existing shipyard in the City of Chester in Delaware County to Bristol, Bucks County, 30 miles upriver.

He bought 260 acres of land in the township and built a shipyard and homes for future employees.

The 3,000 workers and their families soon moved into the area that, in addition to trendy residential units, had a large Victory Hotel, a hospital, and Harriman Public School. The area soon became Harriman Township.

In 1923, Averell decided to sell the shipyard, In 1923, Averell decided to sell the shipyard, which later became an aircraft manufacturing plant. The township was incorporated into Bristol Borough in succeeding years.

Read the entire article on the BucksCo.Today web site here:

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