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Attending To Engineering Heritage

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Societal Contexts of Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.251.1 - 8.251.9



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Paper Authors

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Salim Elwazani

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3261

Attending to Engineering Heritage

Salim Elwazani

Bowling Green State University


Engineering heritage encompasses the structures, sites, and objects that have contributed to the history, culture, and ingenuity of the engineering community and of the place—the community at large. Because these resources are subject to change by human and natural causes, attending to them, particularly on the part of the engineering educational and professional establishments, becomes imperative. Engineering heritage thus connotes heritage resources and preservation actions taken on the resources’ behalf.

The scope of engineering and industrial heritage is quite broad. It encompasses items that have accumulated significance through time. A physical engineering work, such as a grain elevator or an electrical network, is not only the child of a chain of technical developments, but also an embodiment of historical cultural and social norms of the place in which it is situated. In this sense engineering works qualify as heritage items based on the degree of technical and cultural significance they unfold. This is clear in the information quoted below about two sites of Historic American Engineering Record of the National park Service:1 o Potomac Power Plant The current structure is the fourth structure to occupy its location. It was originally part of the U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry and is situated between the Potomac River and the armory canal, whose original head gates still stand two miles upstream. The first building was a tilt hammer shop, constructed c.1830s, which was replaced by a rolling mill in 1854. Following John Brown's raid in 1859 and subsequent burning of the armory, Thomas Savery constructed a pulp mill on the site in 1888. The Harpers Ferry Paper Co. was powered by water from the armory canal, utilizing seven flume bays. In late 1898 plans were made to place a dynamo in the pulp mill to generate electricity for Harpers Ferry. Savery continued simultaneous operations of the electric plant and the paper mill until 1925 when a fire almost completely destroyed the structure. o Natchez Trace Parkway Begun in the 1930s, this parkway follows the route of the historic Natchez Trace, a path used by Native Americans, pioneers and traders of the Mississippi River Valley. The present parkway generally follows the old trace and allows access for interpreting the many historical sites along the route. Beginning in Natchez,

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Elwazani, S. (2003, June), Attending To Engineering Heritage Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11994

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015