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Encyclopedia > Benjamin Wright

Benjamin Wright (October 10, 1770 - August 24, 1842) was a noted American civil engineer who served as Chief Engineer of both the Erie Canal and Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. In 1969 he was declared the "Father of American Civil Engineering" by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The term civil engineer refers to an individual who practices civil engineering. ... The Erie Canal (currently part of the New York State Canal System) is a canal in New York State, United States, that runs from the Hudson River to Lake Erie, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. ... Canal at Swains Lock The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, also known as the C&O Canal, operated from 1850 until 1924 parallel to the Potomac River in Maryland from Cumberland, Maryland to Washington, DC. The total length of the canal is about 184. ... The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is a professional body, founded in 1852, to represent members of the civil engineering profession worldwide. ...


Wright was born in Wethersfield, Connecticut to Ebenezer and Grace (Butler) Wright. In 1789, at age 19, he moved with his family to Rome, New York where he became a surveyor. In 1794, at age 24, he was hired as a surveyor and planner by the famed English canal designer William Weston. Working for Weston, he helped lay out canals and locks on the Mohawk River. After Weston returned to England in 1790, Wright was commissioned to survey the Mohawk River between Schenectady and Rome, New York, and then from Rome to the Hudson River. Wethersfield is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. ... Rome is a city in Oneida County, New York, United States. ... William Pritchard Weston William Pritchard Weston (Born; London, England, 1804; Died St Kilda, Victoria, 21 February 1888) was the third Premier of Tasmania. ... The Mohawk River is a major waterway in north-central New York, United States. ... Schenectady is a city located in Schenectady County, New York, of which it is the county seat. ... Rome is a city in Oneida County, New York, United States. ... The Hudson River, called Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk in Mahican, is a river running mainly through New York State but partly forming the boundary between the states of New York and New Jersey. ...


In 1816 funding for the Erie Canal was in place, and in 1817 Wright named Chief Engineer. In this position he led thousands of unskilled laborers as they built the canal with the aid of wheelbarrows, hand tools, horses, and mules. In Wright's honor, the first boat to traverse the canal system was named the Chief Engineer. The Erie Canal (currently part of the New York State Canal System) is a canal in New York State, United States, that runs from the Hudson River to Lake Erie, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. ...


In 1828, after completion of the Erie Canal, Wright was made Chief Engineer of the newly organized Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. Within a year, Wright had let contracts for a massive construction effort that encompassed about 6,000 men and 700 horses. Canal at Swains Lock The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, also known as the C&O Canal, operated from 1850 until 1924 parallel to the Potomac River in Maryland from Cumberland, Maryland to Washington, DC. The total length of the canal is about 184. ...


In addition to his engineering work, Wright was also elected to the New York State Legislature (1794), and appointed a New York county judge. He married Philomela Waterman on September 27, 1798, with whom he had nine children (five of whom became civil engineers). Wright is buried in the New York Marble Cemetery, Manhattan. The New York Marble Cemetery (0. ... The Borough of Manhattan, highlighted in yellow, lies between the East River and the Hudson River. ...


References

  • Richard G. Weingardt, Engineering Legends: Great American Civil Engineers: 32 Profiles Of Inspiration And Achievement, pp. 4-6, ASCE Publications, 2005. ISBN 0784408017.
  • Robert J. Kapsch, "American Canals as a Source of Revitalization", in The millennium link: the rehabilitation of the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals, ed. G. Fleming, pp. 48-51, Thomas Telford, 2000. ISBN 0727729454.

  Results from FactBites:
 
BenjamnWright (604 words)
He was surveying it---measuring every foot (chain) of the river, noting its depth, the height of its banks, the size of its islands, rapids and riffs, the location of fords and bridges, and the size and names of communities and other significant landmarks.
Benjamin Wright was born in Connecticut in 1770.
When the State of New York funded the construction of the Erie Canal in 1817, Benjamin Wright was appointed engineer for the middle section of the canal.
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