History of ASCE

ASCE was founded in New York City on November 5, 1852, when a small group of twelve engineers and architects—Julius W. Adams, J. W. Ayres, Alfred W. Craven, Thomas A. Emmet, Edward Gardiner, Robert B. Gorsuch, George S. Greene, James Laurie, W. H. Morell, S. S. Post, W. H. Talcott, and W. H. Sidell—met at the offices of the Croton Aqueduct and formed the American Society of Civil Engineers and Architects. It was the first national engineering society created in the United States. In 1869 the "Architects" was dropped from the name, as the architects formed their own society, the American Institute of Architects, in 1857.

As part of understanding the history of civil engineering and promoting the civil engineering profession, a survey of the historic accomplishments of civil engineers is continually conducted by ASCE members. Such reviews of civil engineering accomplishments have produced various lists of the notable categories and projects of the profession.

The prospect of a new millennium led the ASCE to reflect upon the civil engineering achievements of the 20th century with two events. First, the Millennium Challenge in 1999 identified the top-ten "civil engineering achievements that had the greatest positive impact on life in the 20th century", which were to be "broad categories", rather than "individual achievements", which were reserved for the second event. Monuments of the Millennium selected and recognized feats of civil engineering that demonstrated a "combination of technical engineering achievement, courage and inspiration, and a dramatic influence on the development of [their] communities”.

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