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History and Heritage Program

"History is who we are and why we are the way we are."

-David McCullough, Hon.M.ASCE author of "The Great Bridge" and "The Path Between the Seas"

History & Heritage Committee

The ASCE History & Heritage Committee is responsible for originating and conducting programs that relate to the history and heritage of the civil engineering profession and that promote local, regional, national, and international efforts to create public and member understanding of civil engineering and its contribution to the development of society.

The ASCE History & Heritage Committee works closely with other engineering societies headquartered within the United Stated and elsewhere. These activities:

  • encourage recognition of historic engineering achievements around the world;
  • enable engineers to interact and learn from each other; and
  • demonstrate the interrelatedness of different segments of the profession.

Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks Program

Cape Henry CeremonyThis program recognizes historically significant local, regional, national, and international civil engineering projects, structures, and sites to help bring to the public a better understanding of the civil engineer’s role in the development of society and to become more aware of their own history and heritage.

Working with the different entities of ASCE, as well as other engineering organizations throughout the world, this program helps to document important international historic works of the civil engineering profession

ASCE landmark designation recognizes such well-known projects as the Panama Canal and the Golden Gate Bridge. It also brings attention to significant but lesser known projects, such as the Carrollton Viaduct in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Buffalo Bill Dam in Cody, Wyoming.

Seminars, Symposia and Publications

The committee works with other entities of ASCE to encourage programs that include presentations on the history of the profession. It also produces its own symposiums, such as the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of John A. Roebling – the designer of the Brooklyn Bridge – which was held on October 26, 2006 near the bridge.

Hoover Dam SymposiumThe committee publishes symposium proceedings, thereby preserving otherwise ephemeral information in archival form.

ASCE offers many books looking back at the history of civil engineering in all its facets, from biographies of some of the legends, to the role of women, to technical looks at the advancement of engineering approaches and technologies. In addition, the ASCE History and Heritage Committee holds symposiums where papers are presented, then compiled and published as a proceeding and/or are placed in ASCE's Online Research Library in order to make them available to the general public. See the books available by visiting the the ASCE Publications bookstore's history section

Local History & Heritage Programs

Portland Headlight 2000The committee also works to encourage the recognition of regional and local civil engineering projects and engineers with the help of ASCE’s Sections and Branches.

Sections may recommend Historic Civil Engineering Landmark projects that are of local or regional significance. Where appropriate, the committee will provide financial support for a plaque.

The committee’s History and Heritage Section Citation recognizes Sections and Branches that conduct activities that broaden the public’s awareness of the profession. These activities include nominating landmarks, publishing histories, and developing publications such as calendars that celebrate local projects.

For further information about the ASCE History and Heritage Committee and its Program, please contact:

History and Heritage Committee
American Society of Civil Engineers
1801Alexander Bell Drive
Reston, VA 20191-4400