Fort Devens Museum presents another in its series of Saturday afternoon programs on Jan. 18 at 94 Jackson Road, Devens, starting at 1 p.m. Dr. George C. Kingston will present an illustrated lecture on Fred T. Ley, whose construction company undertook the building of Camp Devens beginning in June 1917.

Fred T. Ley, born in Springfield in 1872, left school to work in the city engineer's office where he taught himself surveying and contract management. Along with his two brothers, Ley built one of the largest construction companies in the nation. His early projects included the Springfield water supply system and numerous large buildings in the city.

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, there was no time to solicit bids, so the advisory committee of the Council for National Defense made the decisions. The Fred T. Ley Company was chosen to build Camp Devens by a contract awarded on June 12, 1917. The camp was declared ready for use on Sept. 1, less than 3 months later, an outstanding feat of construction. Ley would go on to complete many more projects in Massachusetts, NYC, and various other locations, and in 1928, he was selected to be the general contractor of the Chrysler Building.

Dr. George C. Kingston is a retired engineering research manager and author of historical biographies. After serving as an Air Force officer in the USAF Systems Command, he went on to a career as an engineer and manager in the chemical industry.


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He is currently working on a dual biography of Fred T. Ley and William Van Alen, the builder and architect of the Chrysler Building. He lives in East Longmeadow.

This event is free and open to the public, though donations are appreciated. The Fort Devens Museum is located on the third-floor at 94 Jackson Road, Devens. The building is wheelchair accessible.

For information about this event, please call 978-772-1286 or email info@fortdevensmuseum.org.