Like many men working in the hellish Carnegie mills, my great-grandfather William Danziger imbibed quantities of beer and liquor to soothe his pains and to make him feel alive again. He didn't reach sixty years of age, while Carnegie lived to the ripe age of eighty-four. In the summer of 2001, I visited my great-grandfather's gravesite in a cemetery not far from his old frame house in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. I found a congested cemetery bordered by busy streets. There was no peace there. I also visited Andrew Carnegie's grave in the bucolic Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, near Tarrytown, New York. Carnegie has a spacious corner lot, nestled among evergreens and fern. It appears he has found a measure of peace. The contrast of the two gravesites raises one of the poignant themes to be explored in reconstructing the complicated life of a titan who came to power in America's Gilded Age: the unequal distribution of wealth that marked that era in our history.

To gain perspective on that theme, we should join Carnegie on his commute from his home to the iron and steel mills. At one time in the mid1860s, Carnegie lived in the elite Homewood suburb of Pittsburgh with its grand Federal-style and Victorian homes. He and his affluent neighbors had toilets, hot-and-cold running water, forced-hot-air furnaces, gas lighting, and iceboxes, which were not only status symbols, but means to healthy living and relative longevity. Upper-class areas like Homewood also had sewers, paved roads, and garbage incineration. The paved roads were courtesy of the city council, which funded them with bonds, a debt that was paid by poor and rich alike, although the poor districts received not one paved road, and wouldn't for at least another decade. On the streets of Homewood, Carnegie encountered fashionably dressed men—or dandies, as they were called— smelling wonderful thanks to a discreet sachet. Style demanded creaseless trousers, coats buttoned high on the chest, bowlers or stovepipe hats, pomaded hair, thick mustaches, and Dundreary whiskers rippling to their chests. If not too early in the day, he passed a lady or two in polonaise and bonnet and holding a fringed parasol overhead.

As Carnegie approached the mills and the adjacent tenement buildings, he left the paved roads for those of dirt—roads where horse droppings and human refuse became putrefied in the hot summers. There were few water lines accessible to flush the stinking excrement and garbage, because in a bout of perfect logic, the Pittsburgh City Council's Water Commission had


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 612

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?