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Celebrating More than 100 Years of ASCE Texas Section

In 2013, we held the ASCE Texas Section Centennial Celebration to celebrate more than 100 years of ASCE in Texas and the people and projects that provide Texas citizens with the infrastructure of our modern world. In 2018, we followed up our centennial celebration and partnered with our Dallas Branch to dedicate a plaque to the Old Red Courthouse, the home of our first meeting. We were honored to be joined by 2018 ASCE President Robin Kemper PE for this celebratory event!

Start of ASCE In Texas

In July of 1913, dedicated professionals traveled to Corpus Christi to attend the Good Roads Congress. At the conclusion of this meeting, seven civil engineers, mostly consultants and professors, reconvened at the Beach Hotel on North Beach. They discussed organizing the 101 members of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in Texas at that time into a state-wide organization… what we now know as the Texas Section of ASCE. Over the next few months they conferred with the national offices of ASCE and drafted a constitution. Later that autumn in Dallas, during the Texas State Fair, elected officers established the charter of the new organization.

Engineering a Better Texas: 100 Years of Civil Engineering in the Lone Star State.

“Engineering a Better Texas: 100 Years of Civil Engineering in the Lone Star State” by Betsy Tyson is a reflection on Texas’ Civil Engineering history. The book was released as part of our Centennial Celebration.

Stand on any street corner; enter any building. Everywhere are examples of civil engineering skill, from magnificent bridges and super highways to the tallest skyscraper, and bold designs like the San Jacinto Monument (front and back cover). For the first time, the story of Texas is told through civil engineering accomplishments. Projects familiar and not-so-familiar are featured to honor the centennial of the founding in 1913 of the Texas Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the oldest civil engineering society in the nation. The Texas Section is among the first founded to support ASCE goals and professionalism. In 2013, it is the largest ASCE section.

The Texas story begins with the Spanish conquistadors, men trained to survey and map this wild, new territory and design settlements. After statehood, the U.S. Army arrived with similar orders. These West Point-trained soldiers fulfilled the ideals of the men who established the nation’s first military academy, with civil engineering training required. The idea for the Texas Section began in Corpus Christi at a 1913 Good Roads meeting. The dream was realized in Dallas during the Texas State Fair. Each decade brought a different set of challenges and fascinating men and women who were up to those challenges. It’s all told in this beautifully designed hardcover book that contains over 200 striking images including some never-before-seen from the Texas Section Archives.

This wide-ranging history of the Texas Section is a fitting way to celebrate its centennial. Engineering a Better Texas is a fascinating book that serves as a proud record of outstanding accomplishments of Texas civil engineers and Texas civil engineering.

– Henry Petroski, Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History, Duke University Chairman, History and Heritage Committee, American Society of Civil Engineers.