photo of a bridge in Jackson
Armour, Swift, Burlington Bridge, Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri.

Since 1969, ASCE, the National Park Service, and the Library of Congress have been members of a tripartite agreement to preserve and document outstanding works of engineering, industry, and technological processes through the Historic American Engineering Record.

The agreement is for a long-range program to identify and record engineering projects that have important places within the history and development of the engineering profession in the United States. ASCE’s role is to provide guidance and support of NPS’s recordation, which includes drawings, documentation, maps, and surveys and of LOC’s archiving and public accessibility of the documentation.

Here are five things you didn’t know about HAER:

  1. Over its five-decade life, HAER has documented over 10,000 sites, produced more than 115,000 large-format photographs, 105,000 data pages, and 6,000 measured and interpretive drawings.
  2. Of ASCE’s more than 285 Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks, 174 are included in HAER.For example, HAER No. MO-2, Armour, Swift, Burlington Bridge, Kansas City, Jackson County, MO, has 92 photos, 17 data pages, six photo caption pages viewable and downloadable at the Library of Congress.
  3. In addition to the Historic American Engineering Record, the National Park Service administers the Historic American Buildings Survey and the Historic American Landscapes Survey as part of its Heritage Documentation Program.
  4. HAER and HABS are among the largest and most heavily used collections housed at the Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs Division.
  5. NPS holds annual competitions for the best measured drawings of HABS/HAER/HALS sites completed by student teams with top prizes of $5,000.

ASCE’s History and Heritage Committee members have been learning fun and interesting facts about historic civil engineering landmarks around the world to share in this 5 Things You Didn’t Know About series.

 As the committee continues to build an inventory of all HCEL projects, members of the committee and other volunteers have been visiting sites to photograph landmarks and ASCE plaques as well as assess their conditions. If interested in volunteering to help the committee record these landmarks, please contact committee chair David Gilbert at [email protected].

Learn more about the committee’s work and the ASCE landmark program.