Isham Randolph

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Isham Randolph
Isham Randolph.png
Isham Randolph (1848-1920) American civil engineer, Reversed the flow of the Chicago River˜
Born(1848-03-25)March 25, 1848
Clarke County, Virginia
DiedAugust 2, 1920(1920-08-02) (aged 72)
Chicago, Illinois
NationalityAmerican
SignatureIsham Randolph Signature.png
Engineering career
Engineering disciplineCivil engineering
Significant projectsChicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
Significant awardsElliott Cresson Medal
 
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Isham Randolph
Isham Randolph.png
Isham Randolph (1848-1920) American civil engineer, Reversed the flow of the Chicago River˜
Born(1848-03-25)March 25, 1848
Clarke County, Virginia
DiedAugust 2, 1920(1920-08-02) (aged 72)
Chicago, Illinois
NationalityAmerican
SignatureIsham Randolph Signature.png
Engineering career
Engineering disciplineCivil engineering
Significant projectsChicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
Significant awardsElliott Cresson Medal

Isham Randolph (March 25, 1848 in Clarke County, Virginia–August 5, 1920) was an American civil engineer who is best known as the chief engineer of the Sanitary District of Chicago during the construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Randolph had no formal engineering training, he began his career as a railroad axeman. After completing the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, at the time the largest canal in the world, Randolph became a consulting engineer on the Panama Canal at the request of the Roosevelt Administration.[1]

Early Life in Virginia (1848–1870)[edit]

Isham Randolph is a descendant of the prominent Randolph family of Virginia.[2] He was 13 years old when the American Civil War began, and lost two brothers who fought for the Confederate States of America.[3] Randolph's family owned slaves, and Randolph learned the beginnings of his engineering skills from a slave his family owned.[4] In 1868, Randolph became an axeman working on the Winchester and Strasburg Railroad, part of the Winchester and Potomac Railroad operated at the time by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.[5] Following his service with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, he was the Assistant Engineer for the Scioto Valley Railroad. Randolph Street in Ashville, Ohio is named in his honor.

Railroad Work in Chicago (1870–1893)[edit]

Randolph arrived in Chicago in 1870, working as a surveyor for the Chicago Division of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.[6] In 1880 Randolph became the chief engineer of the Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad.[7] In 1880, Randolph presented himself to Carter Harrison, Sr. the Mayor of Chicago, and his 3rd cousin.[8] The mayor opposed the expansion of the line Randolph was working on, and encouraged mob action against Randolph and his men.[7][9]

Chief Engineer, Sanitary District of Chicago (1893–1907)[edit]

Randolph was appointed the Chief Engineer of the Sanitary District of Chicago on June 7, 1893,[10] and left that position in 1907. His most significant contribution to the district was the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal which reversed the flow of the Chicago River and created a large vessel waterway between Lake Michigan and the Gulf of Mexico. Randolph was the fourth Chief Engineer of the district, the previous three were not able to conceive of a plan for the canal that would meet the requirements of the city for a budget that the city was satisfied with.[11]

The Panama Canal & Private Practice (1905–1920)[edit]

Randolph was appointed to the International Board of Consulting Engineers for the construction of the Panama Canal in May 1905 by President Theodore Roosevelt.[12] After resigning from the Sanitary District of Chicago in 1907, Randolph went into private practice as a civil engineer.[13] Isham Randolph died August 2, 1920.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Volume 84. American Society of Civil Engineers. 1921. pp. 902–903 
  2. ^ Randolph, Isham. Gleanings from a Harvest of Memories. E. W. Stephens Co, 1937, p. 45.
  3. ^ Randolph, Isham. Gleanings from a Harvest of Memories. E. W. Stephens Co, 1937, p. 83.
  4. ^ Randolph, Isham. Gleanings from a Harvest of Memories. E. W. Stephens Co, 1937, p. 23.
  5. ^ Randolph, Isham. Gleanings from a Harvest of Memories. E. W. Stephens Co, 1937, p. 40.
  6. ^ Randolph, Isham. Gleanings from a Harvest of Memories. E. W. Stephens Co, 1937, p. 43.
  7. ^ a b Randolph, Isham. Gleanings from a Harvest of Memories. E. W. Stephens Co, 1937, p. 44.
  8. ^ Randolph, Isham. Gleanings from a Harvest of Memories. E. W. Stephens Co, 1937, p. 46.
  9. ^ Chicago Daily Tribune; Sep 16, 1880; p. 1
  10. ^ Randolph, Isham. Gleanings from a Harvest of Memories. E. W. Stephens Co, 1937, p. 48.
  11. ^ Currey, Seymour. Chicago—Its History & its Builders Volume 3 1912
  12. ^ Railway Age vol. 39, May 26, 1905
  13. ^ Engineering and contracting vol. 28, The Myron C. Clark Publishing Co., 1907