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Damming the Remains: Traces of the Lost Seaway Communities

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Damming the Remains: Traces of the Lost Seaway Communities

O'Flaherty, Rosemary (2016) Damming the Remains: Traces of the Lost Seaway Communities. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

Damming the Remains: Traces of the Lost Seaway Communities

Rosemary O’Flaherty

Concordia University, 2016

Damming the Remains examines the lived experience of 11,000 people who lost their homes in the 1950s to the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project. Ten villages on the river front were lost altogether in Eastern Ontario and northern New York State, while another five were negatively impacted. On the Canadian-side, these have become known collectively as the "Lost" and "Survivor" Villages respectively.
The flooding for the Power Project drastically altered the landscape along the river creating unsightly mud flats encouraging the growth of pestilential weeds that trapped debris from the river. Some points of land that would not be flooded, particularly on the American shore, had sections carved out and placed elsewhere in the river where a build-up of soil served to reduce the river’s flow rate to one more suitable for the generation of electricity. As a result, along with dredging for a deeper shipping channel, both shallow and deep areas of the river were transformed affecting previous habitats for flora and fauna.
Based on extensive archival and newspaper research, this thesis includes oral history interviews with former residents and incorporates visual evidence with considerable participant observation as well as on-the-ground exploration of the physical remnants. This thesis builds upon the work of Daniel Macfarlane, Joy Parr, and others in exploring how the memories and perspectives of the dislocated residents have evolved over the past fifty-eight years. It was particularly useful to compare the oral interviews conducted by the Lost Villages Historical Society in the late 1970s with those I obtained between 2008 and 2016. Of particular interest is the study of how local people individually and collectively remember the inundation and the resulting losses. As a cross-national study, this thesis enhances the sparse scholarship in the United States on the rearrangement of the land and river that displaced 1,100 people in New York.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:O'Flaherty, Rosemary
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:History
Date:August 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):High, Steven
ID Code:981759
Deposited By: ROSEMARY O'FLAHERTY
Deposited On:09 Nov 2016 16:07
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:53
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