Until 1900, the Chicago River drained into Lake Michigan, along with all the sewage from the city; and the Des Plaines River west of Chicago emptied into the Illinois River, which eventually flows to the Mississippi. Chicago residents drew their drinking water from polluted areas of the lake near the mouth of the Chicago River, leading to outbreaks of typhoid and other waterborne diseases.
Amos Eaton and Stephen Van Rensselaer founded the Rensselaer School for "the application of science to the common purposes of life" in 1824. Eaton had practiced surveying as a teenager building his own compass and chain and wrote an early book on surveying. Later he studied law before becoming interested in geology and agriculture. Stephen Van Rensselaer was the seventh patroon of Rensselaerwyck a track of land comprising most of the current Rensselaer, Albany and Columbia Counties in the State of New York.
The "Land Ordinance of 1785" required that U.S. lands in the public domain be surveyed before sale, and that the surveys be made in accordance with a consistent, integrated system of lines grid-oriented to a true meridian (north-south reference line) and base line (east-west reference line), subdividing the land into approximately square parcels, called townships.
Thomas Hutchins, the first Geographer of the United States, drove his stake near East Liverpool, Ohio to mark the Point of Beginning of the Geographer's Line, the first westward base line.
The Royal Colonial Boundary of 1665 was decreed by England's King Charles II to demarcate his American colonies. It provided a survey from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River along 36 degrees, 30 minutes north latitude. The boundary now serves to divide Virginia from North Carolina and Kentucky from Tennessee.
The voyage of Captain George Vancouver, 1791 -1795, was commissioned by the British Admiralty to map in detail the west coast of North America from Mexico to Alaska and to meet with Spanish authorities on the coast to enforce the terms of the Nootka Sound Convention of 1790.
In 1915, a tropical storm dropped nearly 11 inches of rain on St. Louis in just 17 hours, causing a devastating flood. Claiming 11 lives and the homes of 1,025 families, the flood focused public and government attention onto the problems of the river.
The Chamberlain is the only surviving bridge of the original five. The others were replaced as the river rose due to flood control dams put in place over time.
The 1.5 mile Lacey V. Murrow Bridge was the largest floating structure in the world and the first to be built of reinforced concrete when completed in 1940. The bridge consisted of typically 300-foot long pontoons floated to site and rigidly connected to form a continuous structure and incorporated a unique floating concrete draw-span to allow for passage of marine traffic. The original floating structure, constructed by Pontoon Bridge Builders, was accidentally sunk in 1990 during a major renovation effort and was replaced by 1993.
"Who in Europe, or in America for that matter, knows that Kansas City is one of the loveliest cities on earth? [...] the residential section is a masterpiece of city planning [...]; Few cities have been built with so much regard for beauty."
The tower was designed to rest on a continuous reinforced concrete mat, 4 feet thick, with the base of the slab 24 feet below street level.
What makes the Texas Commerce Bank Building revolutionary in the civil engineering world is not so much the building itself, but its foundation. Initial studies for the type of foundation to be used began in the fall of 1927. William E. Simpson, the building's chief structural engineer, suggested using a mat foundation, something new for Houston's multistory buildings.