According to the current State Engineer, Stacy Watters, PE, each state engineer (all the way back to 1898) had to submit a report to legislation showcasing every project of theirs over the previous year. The following report book is from 1908 and the State Engineer at the time included this poem he found.
It’s amazing how we can relate to those engineers 100 years ago!
One Kind of Engineer
Who comes with Faber sharpened keen,
With profile long and sober mien,
With transit, level book and tape,
And glittering ax to swat the state?
Who sets the level, bends the spine,
Squints through the glass along the line,
Swings both his arms at rapid rate,
Yells, “Hold that bloomin’ rod up straight”?
Who raves and snorts like one insane,
Jumps in the air and claws his mane,
When’er he sees a scraper take
A whack at his most cherished stake?
Who swears he’ll charge “an even ten”
For stakes destroyed by mules and men
While on all fours he tries in vain
To find the vanished stake again?
Who saws the air with maddened rage,
Turns with haste the figured page,
And then, with patience out of joint,
Ties in another reference point?
Who calls if “your unrivalled gall”,
Whene’er you kick for overhaul,
And gives your spine the frigid chill
Whene’er you spring an extra bill?
Who deals with figures quite profuse;
Who tells you solid rock is loose;
That hard-pan’s nothing more than loam,
While gumbo’s lighter than sea foam?
Who, after all, commands our praise,
(In spite of his peculiar ways),
While others harvest all the gains
That spring from his prolific brains?
Allison Dvorak, AIA, CPHC, is a member of the AIA South Dakota Board of Directors, liaison to the Emerging Professionals and Communication committees, and an architect in Sioux Falls. She received her M.Arch from North Dakota State University and continues to develop her Master’s thesis of researching and implementing design theories focused on human centered design through speaking engagements, design practice, and one-on-one client education. Allison lives in Sioux Falls with her husband, son and daughter.