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Who Am I, January-February 2013

The engineer was Julius Adams one of the leading civil engineers of the mid 19th century and one of the founders of ASCE and its president in 1874. 

 Julius Adams
Julius Adams

He began his studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1830 but resigned before graduating to start his civil engineering career under his uncle George Whistler. He later worked on other railroads including the New York and Erie Railroad with his son-in-law James Kirkwood on which they built the famous Starrucca Viaduct, a long masonry structure that opened in 1848 and still serves railroad traffic. He later became involved with the design and construction of water systems for major eastern cities. In the Civil War he raised and was Colonel of the 67th New York Volunteers but was wounded in the battle of Fair Oaks and left the Army shortly after. After the war he proposed a suspension bridge across the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn. 

 Adams Proposed East River Bridge 1864
Adams Proposed East River Bridge 1864

John Roebling was selected to build the bridge but Adams was named one of the panel of engineers to review the plans of Roebling and accompanied the panel on the grand tour of Roebling’s other suspension bridges at Niagara and Cincinnati. He had earlier worked with Roebling on his proposed Kentucky River Bridge in the early 1850s but after construction had begun financing ran out and the bridge was not advanced beyond the construction of the masonry towers and anchorages. He was the editor of Appleton’s Mechanics Magazine and Engineer’s Journal one of the leading journals of the time. He was named an Honorary Member of ASCE in 1888. He died the year after in Brooklyn, New York.