Engineer Benjamin Wright
Benjamin Wright is recognized as the "Father of American Civil Engineering". A country lawyer and surveyor, he became an engineer by experience, not training. He served with great distinction as the chief engineer of the Erie Canal. Two weeks before construction began on the C&O Canal, the canal company board of directors hired Wright to serve in the same capacity. Construction of the C&O Canal proved to be more arduous than the Erie because it had to contend with mountains, rivers and the railroad. The marvels of the C&O Canal, including the Monocacy Aqueduct, serve as testimonies to Wright's engineering skills.
Did You Know?
Canal historians estimate approximately 35,000 laborers helped dig the canal as well as build aqueducts, culverts, locks, lock houses, etc. It took 22 years to build the canal from Georgetown, DC to Cumberland, MD. Much of the workforce were immigrants from Ireland and western Europe. More...