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History of City of Los Angeles City Engineers and Surveyors

Land. Wealth. Population. All essential ingredients of a great city but, by themselves, meaningless.

There must also be vision and achievement. Many creative persons can dream dreams but few can make them happen.

Los Angeles began as a tiny Pueblo in 1781 with eleven families. Today it is a great International City with nearly three million residents whose homes or other buildings, factories, and stores sprawl from the Ocean across Coastal plains and across mountains into inland Valley – over 454 square miles.

Los Angeles has 7,434.4 miles of public ways, more than enough to stretch from Los Angeles to New York City and back again. It’s Street and Freeway System is the greatest of its kind of any major world city. It has 1,041 miles of closed conduit storm drains, an incredible subterranean network more than six times as big as Mammoth Cave – the world’s largest known natural cave. It has 180,000 street lights and more than 6,000 miles of sanitary sewers and forty-one pumping plants.

It has sewage treatment plants, water reclamation plants, numerous major bridges and countless other public construction too voluminous to detail here.

How did a tiny Pueblo become such a magnificent metropolis? Certainly not by chance or random growth.

Each generation of citizens has contributed – building, enlarging, improving. Businessmen, professional men, private citizens, elected officials all contributed. In the final analysis, however, somebody had to translate visions into realistic achievement and none contributed more to this end than the true City Builder – the Engineer.

The biographies included on this website are an account of those men who, one after the other, were City Builders’ each leaving his town growing into a City, a better place for his efforts.

The City Engineer – City Builder.

Source: City of Los Angeles City Engineers 1855 – 1981, Dick Wainer.