Autocar Mondays – Colonial Sand & Stone

Today we take a break from ATHS York coverage for some truly unique pieces of trucking history. Behold, Autocars from one of the greatest construction and material firms in the history of the United States if not the world, Colonial Sand & Stone.

Colonial Sand & Stone Autocar

Colonial played a vital role in the construction of some of the most iconic pieces of the NYC skyline (Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Empire State Building, the Yankee Stadium, George Washington Bridge) yet surprisingly little remains of this industry titan. There appears to be no books by past employees, no photo journals, no biographies, simply nothing. I guess when you think about it the Empire State Building isn’t a bad legacy but who really knows that off the top of their head? But I digress.

Colonial Sand and Stone

Receiving a tip that a downstate business had a collection of former Colonial rigs Ryan began to narrow down the possible locations one by one. Using Google Maps and a bit of luck he found his potential address and a phone number. Calling the number an elderly gentleman answered the phone and confirmed the detective work. When Ryan asked if he could stop by to photograph some of the trucks the answer was clear. “Where have you been?? I’ve been waiting for someone to do this for a long time!!”

Autocar Dump Truck

Apparently the current owner understands the value of these trucks and is not perplexed that others would like to take some photos. How refreshing! Much better than the usual response of “you want to take a photo of that?!”

Autocar Truck Colonial Sand and Stone

As Ryan tells us.

I knew at that point the Powerball isn’t something I’d ever win, but I just won something special.  So I drove down, met the gentleman and found 4 Colonial Autocars.  Some ready to be fired up, some ready to be doctored back to life.  As I opened the door of these triple frame, double nut spoke beasts, I could see the original paint from Colonial on the inside.  I just touched history.

Colonial Sand and Stone

A truly unique find and well worth the effort. Once again Ryan has outdone himself! If anyone out there has any information to add about these trucks or Colonial please leave a comment below or send me an email.

 

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12 Responses to Autocar Mondays – Colonial Sand & Stone

  1. Richard M. Gaskill says:

    Generoso Pope arrived in America at age 15 in 1906 with $10 in his pocket and got his first job carrying drinking water to construction workers for $3 per week. He rose to construction supervisor and, eventually, owner of Colonial Sand & Stone, which was the largest sand and gravel company in the world. Colonial built much of New York City’s skyline, including Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, the Empire State Building, the George Washington Bridge, and the original Yankee Stadium.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generoso_Pope
    http://gpfny.org/about-the-foundation/our-founder/
    If anyone wants some history about the Pope family and Colonial, there is a book that I just got done reading called ‘The Deeds Of My Father’ The author of the book is Gene Pope JR’s son Paul David Pope the grandson of Generoso Pope. I could not put this book down!! And would recommend it to anyone who remembers the Colonial S&S days
    http://tinyurl.com/nmm2gpg

  2. Clarence Ritchie says:

    Eric, my blue 360 was ordered, purchased and used by Colonial. According to my paperwork, Colonial ordered four V12 360’s with that order. I believe the gentleman that has these Autocars recently sold a Colonial 360 mate to my 360.

    • Eric says:

      I’m glad you brought that up as the Brockway Truck forum is one of the few places outside of the ATHS forum where you can find information on the fleet. I’ll update my original post. Hope all is well!

  3. James Hurley says:

    Outstanding find by Ryan.
    Now what are the chances of one of them being
    restored before I die

    Jim

  4. Charles Saliba says:

    Charles Saliba

    I ended up buying the Colonial Sand and Gravel later named Transit Mix and Certifies Concrete. The property is a huge 45,000 sq ft building in Long Island City, NY. This is where Colonial serviced their track, fueled, washed, painted and parked for the night. Later the other companies did the same but got more involved where they had awhile machine shop where they would re-build engines install and or replace the mixing barrels on the transit trucks. They had diesel and gas station pumps right in the building. I still own the building. Picked it up when the Feds sold the building at auction when Ed Halloren was indicted.

    • Eric says:

      Very interesting. You bought the companies or the property? Was anything interesting left behind?

    • Jp Bonici says:

      As a kid I spent a lot of time in that shop!!!..Ran the overhead crane in the high shop too . My fathers small office was to the left of right of the overhead door on 23 rd. street. Could tell you about the stock room in the back of the building …locker room above the offices..could still picture it all!!!.. I have pictures going back to the 50’s..

  5. John Broderick says:

    I worked in the office of Ed Iorio, who was Fortune Pope’s right hand man. Spent many days at L.I. City Garage. Company was like one big happy family and a powerhouse in N.Y. construction. Next biggest company was Transit-Mix, but they were small compared to Colonial. The Pope Family was wired into every facet of New York City Political life. Politicians, Judges, Labor Unions, Police, you name it, everyone knew Colonial Sand and Stone.

  6. Barbara says:

    My Uncle was Nero who ran Long Island City plant. My father Gino (shop steward). Would love to learn more about these great men that built New York City.

    • Jp Bonici says:

      Barbara,
      I just saw your post. My Dad worked in the Astoria machine shop . I knew all about the Astoria dock ,..motoar plant . How many out there know about Blue Diamond Mortar….

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