Public Works Historical Society - Essays in Public Works History
Available for purchase in APWA's online bookstore:
Black Waters: Responses to America¹s First Oil Pollution Crisis, Essay Number 27, Joseph Pratt, Ph.D., 2008. Serious public responses to oil pollution did not occur until almost fifty years after the experience of widespread oil pollution in the World War I era. Why? A look at the history of the 1920s shows powerful economic and political forces aligned against the strengthening of pollution controls. Both the nature of this political battle and its outcome revealed patterns that would continue to shape oil pollution controls in the U.S. for almost half a century.
Natchez, Mississippi, Model City of the Old South, Essay Number 26, Philip Paul Scott, Ph.D., 2007. Perhaps because of the need to rely on unpublished primary source material, the technological advances made in the “Old South” are seldom the subject of modern published research. Dr. Scott believes that what is often considered “obsolete material” should be preserved in the hope of spawning new ideas. In this monograph, he devotes attention to four key services as they developed in antebellum Natchez: fire protection, gas lighting, sanitation, and streets.
Mayor Frank P. Zeidler: Transportation Development in Post-War Milwaukee, Essay Number 25, James J. Casey, Jr., 2006. Completed shortly before Mayor Zeidler’s death in July 2006, this well-researched book establishes the historical context of conditions in Milwaukee at the end of World War II; outlines the election of 1948, including the 1948 expressway bond issue; lays out mayoral initiatives on expressway planning and construction; examines the city’s freeway construction, the transfer of freeway planning to Milwaukee County and its legacy; outlines and examines Mayor Zeidler’s efforts to improve mass transit while stemming the decline of mass transit usage; and provides his introspection on Milwaukee transportation policies.
Paying for the Cost of Growth: The Environmental Engineering Debate in Atlanta, 1877-1914, Essay Number 18, Stuart Galishoff,
1994. This essay tells the story of how Atlantans came to accept the need for long-term solution to their environmental problems. From the late 19th to the early 20th Century, Atlanta changed from a lagger to a leader in urban sanitary engineering.
Public Works and Public Health: Reflections on Urban Politics and Environment, 1880-1925, Essay Number 19, Sarah Elkind, 1999. This essay uses a comparison of regional public works in metropolitan Boston and Oakland to explore the changes in public works policy and its relation to history of American cities, political institutions and the urban environment.
The Politics of Congestion, Essay Number 20, James J. Casey, Jr., JD, 2000. This case study examines the history of freeway politics in Milwaukee City and County from public policy, legal, social, and environmental perspectives. It looks at the choices which were made in the 1960s and 1970s, how the options were framed, and why certain decisions were made. It also looks at the consequences of these decisions to provide a historical context for understanding the transportation policy choices facing today's urban cities.
Army Engineers' Contributions to the Development of Iron Construction, Essay Number 21, Sarah E. Wermiel, 2002. This essay examines the specific ways in which the U.S. federal government, through the Army Corps of Engineers, was able to influence the development of iron for use in 19th Century construction. The author documents the Corps' early use of iron as structural elements in the construction of fireproof buildings and skeleton frame lighthouses. Research for this book was done under contract to The Office of History, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Water for the Anasazi: How the Ancients of Mesa Verde Engineered Public Works, Essay Number 22, Kenneth R. Wright, P.E., 2003. Navajos called them “the ancient ones,” the Anasazi. Monuments to their genius remain in Colorado’s cliffside apartment houses, terraced fields and ruins of a sprawling, medieval road system. But there are mysteries as well. Among them is how they were able to get enough water to sustain a civilization on a riverless mesa with infrequent rainfall. This full color essay by Kenneth R. Wright, a civil engineer, probes the technology behind the Anasazi’s success.
Cities Take Flight: A Centennial History of the American Municipal Airport, Essay Number 23, Janet R. Daly Bednarek, 2004.
From grassy fields to virtual small cities, the responsibilities in municipal airport planning and
construction have shifted. This important research from a premier aviation
historian provides a solid understanding of how airports have evolved over the
Scene by the Engineer, Essay Number 24, William Worthington, 2005. This book, written by a curator
emeritus of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, will
transport readers to 70 different locations along the path of American
engineering and creativity. Using seldom-seen photographs, the author takes you
behind the scenes to layout little-known facts about some of engineering's
biggest successes, dismal failures, and long-forgotten pipedreams. From
suspension bridges to concrete boats, every picture is captivating and the
commentary is delightful. It's fun, and it's all fact!
Out of Print:
Chicago's Quest for Pure Water, Essay Number 1, James C. O'Connell, June 1976 (out of print).
George Warren Fuller: A Reminiscence, Essay Number 2, Abel Wolman, September 1976 (out of print).
Benjamin Henry Latrobe and Public Works: Professionalism, Private Interest, and Public Policy in the Age of Jefferson, Essay Number 3, Edward C. Carter II with Darwin H. Stapleton and Lee W. Formwalt, December 1976 (out of print).
Pragmatic Environmentalist: Sanitary Engineer George E. Waring, Jr., Essay Number 4, Martin V. Melosi, April 1977 (out of print).
The "Practicable" Engineer: John B. Jervis and the Old Croton Aqueduct, Essay Number 5, Larry D. Lankton, Septebmer 1977. This essay is of interest to students of engineering history, as well as engineers and public works administrators. Lankton discusses not only the construction of the important structure, but the qualities that made Jervis an historic public works figure (out of print).
Transportation Innovation and Changing Spatial Patterns in Pittsburg, 1850-1934, Essay Number 6, Joel A. Tarr, April 1978 (out of print).
Public Policy and Public Works: Niagara Falls Redevelopment as a Case Study, Essay Number 7, David L. Nass, February 1979. The basic question of public or private control of essential industries is explored in this essay. Ness examines the development of the Niagara Power Project as an example of the interplay between economics and politics. Among the topics that he explores is the conflict between federal and state development of New York's rivers, the establishment of the New York Power Authority in 1931, and the construction of the Niagara Power Project (out of print).
Fresno's Water Rivalry: Competition for a Scarce Resource, 1887-1970, Essay Number 8, Todd A. Shallat, September 1979 (out of print).
Pioneering in Parks and Parkways: Westchester County, New York, 1985-1945, Essay Number 9, Marilyn E. Weigold, February 1980 (out of print).
The Search for an Optimum Sanitation Jurisdiction: The Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago, a Case Study, Essay Number 10, Louis P. Cain, July 1980 (out of print).
Nelson P. Lewis and the City Efficient: The Municipal Engineer in City Planning during the Progressive Era, Essay Number 11, Jeffery K. Stine, April 1981 (out of print).
Water and Sewage Works in Wilmington, Delaware, 1818-1910, Essay Number 12, Carol Hoffecker, July 1981 (out of print).
Public Works and Urban History: Recent Trends and New Directions, Essay Number 13, Eugene P. Moehring, August 1982 (out of print).
Infrastructure and Urban Growth in the Nineteenth Century, Essay Number 14, Ann D. Keating, Eugene P. Moehring, and Joel A. Tarr, December 1985 (out of print).
Planning and Financing Public Works, Essay Number 15, Christine M. Rosen, Marc A. Weiss, and Jon J. Lines, September 1987 (out of print).
Public-Private Partnerships: Privatization in Historical Perspective, Essay Number 16, David Beito with Bruce Smith, Charles D. Jacobson, and Ann D. Keating, December 1989. There are few issues as contentious as privatization in public works. This historical perspective provides an understanding of how public-private partnerships have worked in the past, when certain solutions were attractive, and what problems remained unsolved. David Beito shows that privatization is a historical solution to public works problems in St. Louis where private street associations provided a wide range of services and facilities to their members between 1869 and 1920. Charles Jacobson explores why contracting for water needed for fire protection proved disastrous, while contracting for electric street lighting was quite successful, in municipalities across the country. Ann Keating identifies the historical materials already available, as well as areas in which more research would aid current discussions on the construction, ownership, and operation of public works facilities (out of print).
Stemming the Tide: Design and Operation of the Bonnet Carre Spillway, Essay Number 17, Emory Kemp, December 1990 (out of print).