08:00 AM - 09:30 AM
26 October 2022

SoCal Stories: Seven Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks

History & Heritage

The cities of Southern California, like other American metropolitan areas, were shaped by and are defined by their civil engineering infrastructure.

  • Tehachapi Pass Railroad Line (1876) was a primary factor in the early growth of both the city of Los Angeles and the state of California.
  • Sweetwater Dam (1888) was once the tallest masonry arch dam in the United States and served as a model for many others.
  • The First Owens River Los Angeles Aqueduct (1913) was the prototype for the extensive water supply systems needed to support today’s major urban complexes.
  • The Colorado River Aqueduct (1933-41) provided the water that made large-scale population and economic growth of Southern California possible.
  • All American Canal (1934-42), the largest irrigation canal in the world, is the Imperial Valley's only water source.
  • Arroyo Seco Parkway (1940) was the first freeway in the United States to be built as a state highway and was an archetype of the divided-lane, high-speed, limited-access roads that eventually proliferated throughout the national Interstate Highway System.
  • Tustin Blimp Hangars (1942) remain among the largest clear span wooden structures in the world.

All seven of these projects have been recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers as National Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks. This presentation spotlights the planning, design, and construction stories of these civil engineering marvels, each of which contributed significantly to the growth and development of Southern California and to the advancement of the civil engineering profession.