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George William Catt

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George William Catt (1860-1905)

1906 Obituary [1]

GEORGE WILLIAM CATT, died at his home in New York City, on the 8th October, 1905, aged 45. Born at Davenport, Iowa, on the 9th March, 1860, he received his preliminary education at the public schools and subsequently passed through the Iowa State College, graduating in 1882.

On leaving college, he joined the staff of the King Bridge Company, of Cleveland, whom he represented as contracting engineer for several years in the Mississippi Valley and on the Pacific Coast.

In 1887 he became Chief Engineer to the San Francisco Bridge Company, in which capacity he designed and erected a large number of bridges for railroads and municipalities. Whilst at Seattle, Washington, he rebuilt most of the piers and other water-front structures destroyed in the fire which occurred in 1889.

In 1891 he obtained the contract for extensive hydraulic dredging operations in Boston harbour, which being successfully completed led to the foundation in the following year of the New York Dredging Company, of which Mr. Catt became President and Chief Engineer, his services being retained by the San Francisco Bridge Company as Consulting Engineer. During this period he designed and erected four large dredging-plants and executed a large amount of river- and harbour-improvement work, chiefly on the Pacific Coast. He also built the first modern drainage-station for New Orleans and a ship-canal, 7 miles in length, for the Port Arthur Channel and Dock Company, Texas, the construction of which necessitated the removal of 5 million cubic yards of material.

In 1899 the New York Dredging Company was incorporated with the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Company, of which Mr. Catt became President and Chief Engineer, retaining this position until his death. Besides actively directing the extensive operations of his company in all parts of the United States, he acted as Consulting Engineer to the Puget Sound Bridge and Dredging Company, the San Francisco Bridge Company, and the British Columbia General Contract Company.

In 1891 he succeeded in obtaining the contract for the improvement of Manila harbour, involving the rebuilding and extension of the Spanish jetties, the dredging of a large anchorage-basin to the depth of 30 feet, the construction of an additional breakwater and the building of a rock bulkhead behind which the spoil of the dredging deposited. Whilst the work was in progress Mr. Catt also built a large coaling-station, with full equipment, at Sangley Point, near Manila. One of the last important contracts which he undertook was the reclamation of salt marshes contiguous to Cape May, New Jersey, to allow of the extension of that town and district, work involving the dredging and depositing of 10 million cubic yards of material.

Mr. Catt was a Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia. By virtue of his rare abilities and high personal character he attained a prominent place in the rankso f the profession in America, and won the respect and esteem of all who came into contact with him.

Mr. Catt was elected a Member of this Institution on the 6th March, 1900.

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