Swiss American Historical Society Review

Swiss American Historical Society Review


Konrad Basler


Friend, Job, Town


After New York, my wife and I traveled on to Bethlehem,

Pennsylvania. We had long been invited to visit John and Nelda Fisher

there, old university friends of ours, and it was now that we finally complied.

'It looks greener and cleaner', was our first response to the town that

had become our second home and our daughter Susan's birthplace. The

fortunate change in the town's appearance seemed due to the 'Bethlehem

Steel Company', which had shrunk to a mere tenth of its original jobs.

Lehigh University, on the other hand, had grown in size-in particular its

research department for civil engineering, where I had worked during our

stay. The south side of the campus now lodged the Center for Advanced

Technology for Large Structural Systems - built under the supervision

of Dr. John Fisher, our host. It represents one of the six Centers of

Excellence established during the Reagan era, and the only one in the

United States conceived exclusively for the construction industry. At the

time of our visit, double-hulled vessels were being developed and tested

there-a novel approach designed to reduce pollution in case of leaking

oil tanks.