Wier & Associates, Inc.

Back to History of Civil Engineering

Resource Center

The 1930's - Early Years in the Fort Worth Branch A.S.C.E.

(The following description of some of the members and activities of the Fort Worth Branch during the “early years" is reprinted here from “The History of the Fort Worth Branch, Texas Section, American Society of Civil Engineers for the Years 1931 to 1970”, by H. H. Hester (a former Branch Historian & a Life Member, A.S.C.E.)

In the early days of the organization news was very scarce, the city was experiencing a pretty rough “Depression" and most of the Engineers became involved in P.W.A., W.P.A., N.R.A. and other Federal programs, but the loyal and faithful members of the Fort Worth Branch stayed together and survived the Depression.

The Branch has had many outstanding members, but the member that perhaps deserves the most praise is Charlie Davis. He has been very active in all phases of A.S.C..E. even before the Texas Section was organized in 1913. This honor is shared with his family as the records show that Mrs. Charlie Davis was the first lady that ever attended a Texas Section meeting, and was active in organizing the Branch Wives Club. She was followed by Mrs. Joe Rady, who served as the second President.

Another outstanding member of the Branch was Major John B. Hawley who has been mentioned previously as one of the men responsible for organizing the Texas Section and the Fort Worth Branch. The Major established a reputation as being one of the outstanding Engineers in the United States.

Simon Freese and Marvin Nichols paid a wonderful tribute to the Major in 1961 when they established the John B. Hawley Memorial Fund. Major Hawley was always interested in .the professional advancement of his employee associates and in all young Engineers. Before the days of the College Loan Fund, he loaned money to 27 young men so they could complete their engineering education. In speaking before the Fort Worth Branch in May of 1934, the Major exhibited a standard form of contract which he had obtained in England. This form was compiled after much study by a group of Engineers. The Major compared the form with our Texas Section standard form and reported that it is almost identical, so far as form and arrangement is concerned and in some instances the wording is identical. The Major said that this goes to show that good professional men in any part of the world will reach similar conclusions on technical matters.

In 1936, the Fort Worth Branch again hosted the state Fall meeting, and one of the outstanding social events was attendance at the centennial Frontier Celebration - and Casa Manana. Jake Brillhart, the general Chairman of the meeting then in progress, noted that everyone thoroughly enjoyed the show, especially the men, viewing the Sally Rand" Fan Dance.

W. O. Jones was Director of Public Works for the City of Fort Worth in 1936 and had much to do in getting this outstanding show in operation in the limited time available. The programs for this and subsequent state meetings held in Fort Worth have always been well planned, and excellent papers and interesting discussions have stimulated a great amount of interest among the membership, and the matter of entertainment has not been overlooked. Barbecues, banquets, picnics, swimming and fishing, rodeos and dances have always been enjoyed by the visitors.

In an article in the Texas Engineer in April of 1937, Mr. C.M. Thelin wrote a very interesting article entitled" "The Engineer in Municipal Service." He pointed out the necessity of employing engineers in practically all phases of city Government, but due to political situations this has been very difficult to achieve. Since the City Manager form of Government is growing very rapidly, there is hope that it will be possible to break down the political barriers and employ more engineers, resulting in more efficient and economical City Government.

- John P. Wier, P.E., R.P.L.S., Historical Chair, Fort Worth Branch ASCE, November 2008

Contact Wier & Associates, Inc.