Sunday, February 10, 2013


     Jack Nels Gordon was many things during his life.  But did you know he invented the World Trade Center?  Well, not the Twin Towers, and not actually invented, but he was involved in the conceptual development of a World Trade Center for the Great Lakes Region.

     In 1962, Jack Gordon was President of International Commerce Corporation an offshoot of SCOPE International, an Akron, OH firm that developed a proposal for The Great Lakes World Trade Center.

     Here, Jack is seen with then Governor Michael DiSalle of Ohio.   Governor DiSalle is holding a binder with the comprehensive Trade Center proposal. 

     A building site had been proposed in the Erieview section of Cleveland, as part of an urban renewal movement.   Potential members for the Board of Directors had been identified, including retired Army General Bruce Clarke.  General Clarke wrote (in personal correspondence to Jack dated 25 March, 1963) the following:

Dear Mr. Gordon:
     In response to your letter of 20 March 1963, I will be glad to accept the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors of your Corporation.  
                                                                                  Sincerely yours, 

                                                                                  Bruce C. Clarke General, USA Ret.

Architectural conceptions had been drawn.

Funding, however eventually failed to materialize, and the project withered. 

     As early as 1959, David Rockefeller had proposed a World Trade and Financial Center to be located in lower Manhattan.  See the historical timeline of the Twin Towers here.  The two projects (Great Lakes WTC and New York City WTC) were evolving in roughly parallel fashion.  Jack often speculated to us that in some way the Rockefellers were able to pull the rug out from under the financing for the Great Lakes World Trade Center.  Whether that is true or not, this whole incident marked a fascinating chapter in the varied life of Jack Nels Gordon.

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