Nominations for an Historic Civil Engineering Landmark must come from an ASCE organizational entity or a related engineering society. To ensure that this ASCE designation has real and lasting significance, the History and Heritage Committee (HHC) carefully studies and evaluates the data and rationale submitted. Part of that evaluation includes comparing the project to similar projects that may or may not have been nominated or designated as landmarks. Detailed documentation must support statements or claims made in the nomination.
Judging national historic significance is not easy, so specific guidelines have been established:
- The nominated project must be of national historic civil engineering significance. Size or technical complexity of design or construction is not sufficient in itself.
- The project must represent a significant facet of civil engineering history, but does not have to be designed or constructed by a civil engineer.
- Projects must have some uniqueness (e.g., a first project constructed), or have made some significant contribution (e.g. the first project designed by a particular method), or used a unique or significant construction or engineering technique. The project itself must have contributed to the development of the nation or at least a very large region. Thus a project that did not make a contribution, did not lead to some other development, or was a technical “dead end” might not be of national historic significance, even if it might have been the first or only one of its kind.
- Projects should be generally available for public viewing, although safety considerations or geographic isolation may restrict access.
- Nominated projects should be at least 50 years old from the substantial completion at the time the ASCE plaque is presented.
- A place on site, viewable by the public, must be available to mount a 19” x 13” plaque, to be supplied by ASCE headquarters.
Note: For the international designation, the other country’s engineering professionals must have designed, planned, or otherwise created the project, and the nomination must be supported by an engineering society from that other country.
A nomination can take up to one year to review. Sometimes the nomination, while worthy, is deemed not to be of national significance. In those cases, HHC will often recommend that the site be considered for local or state designation. These designations are equally important to the profession and the people in the region.