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William J. Wilgus papers

Collection Data

Description
William John Wilgus (1865-1949) was a civil engineer who worked for the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad. By 1899 he was the chief engineer for construction and maintenance of way and in 1903 became vice-president in charge of construction. During those years he supervised the planning and construction of Buffalo Union Station, the Weehawken (N.J.) Terminal and the modern Grand Central Station. In 1907 Wilgus opened his own consulting practice and advised railroad companies on construction and improvement projects for states and municipalities including several concerned with the improvement of passenger and freight transportation in the New York Metropolitan area. During World War I he directed transportation for the Allied Expeditionary Forces in France. After his retirement from private practice in 1930, he devoted much of his time to writing and research on military and civilian transportation issues while working in the private sector. Collection consists of records that document Wilgus' professional activities as a civil engineer. New York Central and Hudson River Railroad papers, 1895-1931, include correspondence; research notes, articles and pictures, engineering reports, minutes, legal papers, photographs and other materials relating to the new Grand Central Station and electrification of the suburban lines leading into it, and the rehabilitation and expansion of the railroad's other lines. American Expeditionary Forces records, 1915-1933, contain correspondence, writings and translations by Wilgus, writings by others, and source materials concerning military transportation during World War I. Private consulting practice records, 1908-1930, of his consulting firm in New York City consist of materials about New York transportation and major railroad projects and of general client files. Public service activities series, 1933-1945, contains papers relating to various projects on which he worked. American Society of Civil Engineers records, 1914-1930, include Wilgus' papers as member and president of the New York chapter in 1920-1921, and records of the United Engineering Society. His writings, research notes and related correspondence, 1913-1947, contain essays, notes, correspondence, and printed materials on issues of military reorganization, transportation and war preparedness. Also, artifacts, such as medals, awards and certificates, and photographs and charts.
Names
Wilgus, William J. (William John), 1865-1949 (Creator)
Wilgus, William J. (William John), 1865-1949 (Author)
Boston Society of Civil Engineers (Contributor)
United Engineering Society (Contributor)
United States. Army. American Expeditionary Forces (Contributor)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1895 - 1947
Library locations
Shelf locator: MssCol 3325
Topics
Civil engineering
Military engineering
Military railroads
Railroad engineering
Railroads -- Electrification
Railroads -- United States
Subways -- New York (N.Y.) -- New York
Transportation -- New York (State)
Transportation -- New York (N.Y.) -- New York
World War, 1914-1918 -- Personal narratives, American
World War, 1914-1918 -- Transportation
Civil engineers
Holland Tunnel (Jersey City, N.J., and New York, N.Y.)
Bangor and Aroostook Railroad Company
Grand Central Terminal (New York, N.Y.)
Wabash Railroad
Toledo, St. Louis, and Western Railroad Company
Pennsylvania Railroad
New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad Company
New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company
Lehigh Valley Railroad Company
Lehigh Valley Coal Company
Fonda, Johnstown & Gloversville Railroad
Central Railroad of New Jersey
Genres
Blueprints
Diaries
Maps
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Correspondence
Documents
Notes
Biographical/historical: William John Wilgus (1865-1949), prominent civil engineer, was born in Buffalo, New York. After high school he was privately tutored in engineering before accepting his first position as rodman and draughtsman for the Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad in 1885. Wilgus rose rapidly in his profession. In 1893 he began his association with the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad as assistant engineer on its Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg line. By 1899 he was the railroad's chief engineer for construction and maintenance of way and in 1903 became vice-president in charge of construction. During these years he supervised the planning and construction of Buffalo Union Station, the Weehawken (N. J.) Terminal, the modern Grand Central Station and the electrification of the suburban lines leading into it. In 1907 Wilgus left the NYC & HRR to open his own consulting practice. He advised numerous railroad companies on construction and improvement projects and on the valuation of their holdings. In addition to his engagements with private corporations Wilgus worked on numerous projects for states and municipalities including several concerned with the improvement of passenger and freight transportation in the New York Metropolitan area. He was appointed chairman of the board of consulting engineers for the construction of the Holland Tunnel, construction engineer for the proposed Narrows Tunnel, and consultant to the New York Transit Commission and the Regional Plan of New York and its Environs. During World War I Wilgus was sent to France as a member of the Military Railway Commission to study the suitability of the French railroads for the transportation of troops and material. He became Director of Railways for the Allied Expeditionary Forces and later Deputy Director General of Transportation. After his retirement from private practice in 1930, Wilgus devoted much of his time to writing and research on military and civilian transportation issues while working in the public sector. From 1934-1935 he served as director of New York City's Works Division in charge of work relief projects and from 1940-1941 as advisor to the National Resources Planning Board. Wilgus was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and president of its New York Chapter from 1920-1921. He won many awards for his war service and his achievements and publications in the engineering field. After his retirement he settled in Ascutney, Vermont and later Claremont, New Hampshire where he died in 1949.
Content: The William Wilgus Papers contain the records of his professional activities as a civil engineer, 1895-1947. The Wilgus Papers also contain medals, awards, and certificates presented to Wilgus during his long career.
Physical Description
Extent: 115 linear feet (112 boxes)
Type of Resource
Still image
Identifiers
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b11652254
MSS Unit ID: 3325
Archives collections id: archives_collections_3325
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 0c0ce0a0-5fc1-0138-8f75-009944416e97
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