History and Heritage


Civil engineers build the world's infrastructure. In doing so, they shape the history of nations around the world. This site provides information on the people, projects, and concepts that comprise the history and heritage of civil engineering. Feel  free to browse through the various sections to learn more about this history and ASCE's History & Heritage Program.


Hoover Dam’s 75th Anniversary History Symposium 

The History and Heritage Committee is sponsoring a symposium to mark the 75th anniversary of the completion of the Hoover Dam.

This symposium will be held on October 20 - 22, 2010 during ASCE's 2010 Annual Conference in Las Vegas, NV. The celebration includes:

  • A tour of the dam on the afternoon of October 20th.
  • Followed that evening by a reception.
  • Papers covering various aspects of the dam's history and influence on the field of civil engineering will be presented on October 21st and 22nd.
  • More details will be posted as they become available.

Abstracts were due 12/16/2009. The papers selected for the proceedings are due by 6/16/2010. For more information on suggested topics, the proceedings, and contact information, please read this Call For Papers. (PDF, 62KB)


                                     We already have two winners!

Jon Schmidt, P.E., M.ASCE and Kristopher Weidner, S.M.ASCE successfully completed the crossword. They will both receive a prize.

I wish to thank everyone for playing. If you haven't had a chance to complete the puzzle, feel free to have some fun with it.

Another little history-related crossword puzzle for those of you who like bridges and/or puzzles. Download this puzzle; print it out; complete it and either email the completed crossword to me at creese@asce.org or fax it to 866-902-5004. The first two to send it back with the correct answers will receive prizes.

Good luck and enjoy.

International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark Dedication

The Goldfields Water Supply International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark was dedicated at two separate ceremonies held October 20th Landmark dedicationand 21st, 2009 in Western Australia.  The first at Mundaring Weir, near Perth, was attended by approximately 60 guests.  The second at Kalgoorlie the some 350 miles to the east drew about 30 attendees.  The events were organized by the Western Australia Division of Engineers Australia and the Water Corporation of Western Australia.                 

 Shown right: Potenciano Leoncio, International Director, ASCE and

Sue Murphy, CEO, Water Corp. of Western Australia unveiling plaque


International Historic Civil Engineering plaque

The Goldfields Water Supply System was designed and built from 1895 to 1903 under the direction of the eminent civil engineer, C.Y. O’Connor, known affectionately as “The Chief”, then head of the Public Works Department of the newly established colony of Western Australia.  Sir John Forrest, a former surveyor and explorer, who became the first premier of Western Australia, was the driving political force behind the project. The GWS was a pumped water supply system of unprecedented scale consisting of the highest concrete gravity dam yet constructed in the southern hemisphere and 351 miles of 30” diameter mild steel pipeline, the first major pipeline to be constructed of the new material.

Find more information on this latest International Landmark.

National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark Dedication

Poughkeepsie-Highland Bridge, New York State

On Saturday, October 17, 2009, the Mohawk-Hudson Section, along with the Mid-Hudson Branch, dedicated the Poughkeepsie-Highland Bridge as Poughkeepsie Bridge cakea National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.  The Landmark plaque states:

The Poughkeepsie-Highland Bridge is the oldest surviving steel cantilever bridge in the world and, when built, had the longest truss and cantilever spans. The bridge provided the first, and only, all-rail route across the Hudson River south of Albany, and it facilitated the movement of coal eastward and manufactured goods Plaquewestward for 85 years. Restored as the Walkway Over the Hudson, the bridge provides an outstanding example of adaptive reuse. Its designers were Thomas C. Clarke (ASCE President 1896) and Charles Macdonald (ASCE President 1908).

You can find out more about this historic bridge by going to the History and Heritage of Civil Engineering site and selecting the Poughkeepsie-Highland Bridge entry.

Restored as the Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park, the bridge in now the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. The bridge deck stands 212 feet above the river's surface and is 6,678 feet (1.28 miles) long. This restoration started in May 2008 and was completed at the end of September 2009 - theBridge Inspection official opening was on October 3, 2009. The reconstruction first required an inspection of the original structure. Once this was completed the old railroad ties and posts had to be removed. After the old was removed, building of the new walkway could begin. The new walkway consists of enormous concrete slabs. Concrete slabs

The final product can be seen here. This shows the entrance to the pedestrian bridge from the Highland side of the Hudson River.



History and Heritage Program Brochure


The History & Heritage Committee has produced a new brochure describing all the different aspects of ASCE's program. It describes not only such well-known programs as the Landmark program but also the publications, symposia, and, of course, the Web site. This compact brochure provides members with a n easy way to promote the field's history with the public. It is also a good way for faculty to introduce their students to the wonderful heritage of their chosen field.

To request copies, please email Carol Reese, staff contact for the committee.