The following is a description of some of the members and activities of the Fort Worth Branch during the “early years.” Most of this information is taken 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.)
My August, 2008 Fort Worth Branch newsletter article summarized the early activities of the Branch after its June 18, 1932 formation. Those first leaders established a solid footing upon which the 1940 leaders continued to build. The following served as President of the Branch during that first decade:
- 1932 - J. C Carpenter
- 1933 - J. C Carpenter
- 1934 - J. C Carpenter
- 1935 - Harry B. Friedman
- 1936 - T. E. Bliss
- 1937 - D. L. Lewis
- 1938 - William Grant
- 1939 - Marvin C. Nichols
The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, bringing the United States of America into the WW II conflict. So the early 1940's found most of the engineers in uniform and all projects were related to the war effort. The Fall Texas Section meeting was held in Fort Worth in October, 1941. Fort Worth Member E. C. Woodward served as Texas Section President in 1942.
There were some projects being considered during this period that had to do with post war planning. At the Branch meeting on December 11, 1944, Mr. R. C. Elliott, Regional Director of the Civil Aeronautics Administration, and Mr. W. O. Jones, Director of Public Works of the City of Fort Worth, spoke on airports and air travel. Both men predicted a tremendous increase in the amount of air traffic with larger planes and small fields to handle the private planes. Both men agreed that financial problems would be solved through Federal funds. And the Texas Engineer carried during 1945 voluminous reports on Post War Planning by Uel Stephens and J. W. Bradner, Jr., co-chairman of the Section’s committee.
There was no Texas Section meeting held in the Spring of 1945, the first time since the year 1917 and World War 1. In the September issue of the Texas Engineer there was a note to the effect that there was to be Fall Meeting because of the termination of the war and gasoline rationing after the country celebrated Victory in Japan (VJ Day) September 2, 1945 following the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan in August.
By 1946, most of the engineers were back on their regular jobs. At the Branch meeting on January 3, 1946, Col. S.W. Freese spoke on his experiences during the two years he spent in the Military Government Branch of the Army. Col. Freese was stationed in London, Paris, Frankfort, and Berlin.
The Texas Engineer carried a news item in 1946 stating that Mr. Uel Stephens, Chairman, and Mr. J.W. Bradner, Jr., Co-Chairman of the Texas Section Planning Committee and both members of this Branch, had a large backlog of projects that were being submitted for approval to the Federal Public Works Administration.
The Fall meeting in 1947 was divided between locations in Fort Worth and Mineral Wells. Most of program was devoted to airports. At the San Angelo meeting in 1949, the Texas Section Badge was born, and the first badge was presented to A.S.C.E. President, Mr. Franklin Thomas. The Badge was designed by Fort Worth member Charlie Davis.
The Presidents of the Fort Worth Branch during the 1940’s were:
- 1940 - W. O. Jones
- 1941 - Joe J. Rady
- 1942 - A.C. Blomgren
- 1943 - C. J. Harkrider
- 1944 - D. W. Robinson
- 1945 - Uel Stephens
- 1946 - Henry Rockwood
- 1947 - E. L. Ferguson
- 1948 - J. R. Hendrick
- 1949 - J. J. Burgess
- John P. Wier, P.E., R.P.L.S., Historical Chair, Fort Worth Branch ASCE, November 2009