The Journal of San Diego History
Winter 2002, Volume 48, Number 1
Gregg Hennessey, Editor

By Gordon Lutes

Welcome to this special issue of the Journal of the San Diego History, “The Legacy of Civil Engineering.” In this Journal, engineers have written articles about some of the civil engineering accomplisments in San Diego’s History. The purpose of this Journal is threefold:

  1. Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE);
  2. Encourage present and future people in the profession of civil engineering;
  3. and increase the public’s awareness of the important role of civil engineering in our history and our community.

Civil engineers have the privilege of leaving a legacy of good works, which are the physical “monuments” that improve our quality of life. Our legacy is the transportation systems used for work and play, the water and sewer systems we rely on to maintain health, the flood control systems and buildings that provide protection from the elements, and developments where we live, work and play.

ASCE is a professional organization representing more than 123,000 civil engineers nationally. It started when the twelve Founders gathered at the Croton Aqueduct in New York on November 5, 1852, and agreed to incorporate the American Society of Civil Engineers and Architects. Today ASCE is a worldwide leader for excellence in civil engineering. ASCE’s mission is to advance professional knowledge and improve the practice of civil engineering.

The San Diego Section of ASCE was formed in 1915, at a time in our city’s history when a civil engineer, Edwin M. Capps, was in his second term as mayor. Before serving as mayor, Mr. Capps served as the city engineer. Today, civil engineers are behind the headlines making our lives easier. We hope that this journal will encourage future generations to join our honored profession and be the Capps, Gabrielsons, and Ricks shaping our community for the 21st century.

We acknowledge with thanks the following for their support in the creation of this Journal:

  • The “Life members” of the San Diego Section of ASCE under the leadership of Gene Cook, who volunteered for the assignment of preparing the articles;
  • San Diego History Center for their partnership and in particular Gregg R. Hennessey for his patience and work in editing the articles;
  • Donna Lawrence for her help with the editing;
  • The Sponsors who made possible this journal and our local celebration of ASCE’s 150th Anniversary;
  • The 150th Anniversary committee headed by Dennis Landaal;
  • The San Diego Section of ASCE; and
  • The authors who spent their time to research and write the articles.

As you read the Journal, we hope you will gain a greater appreciation for civil engineering’s role in shaping our world. In addition, we hope to encourage and inspire those who are currently civil engineers, and motivate future generations to become civil engineers.

Finally, as you think about the legacy of civil engineering, I urge you to plan the legacy you want to leave behind.

Sincerely, Gordon Lutes
President, San Diego Section of ASCE