14 thoughts on “Topographical Survey, 1934

  1. Great photo image. I love this gentleman’s attire. Look at those lace-up boots.
    A good reminder of the skills and equipment required for roadway construction, grading and landscape design.

  2. Topographical Leveling Surveys:
    When a set of operations is performed to determine the elevation of one or more points with respect to a horizontal position, it is known as leveling in surveying. These measurements and calculations allow determining the heights of the terrain points and their difference in level.

    The engineer has been captured here in a “classic” pose. He and his measuring instrument work as one. Notice the lightness of his hand on the sight adjustment knob and his secure stance. His layered dress allows him the flexibility to change to changing weather conditions as he knows he will be outside all day.

    This man reminds me of actor Gregory Peck. He looks “sharp” from head to toe…from the placement of the fedora on his head, his glasses, the upturned shirt collar under his suede jack, his breaches, heavy woolen socks, and fine high laced work boots. This is a photo that would be suitable for a Norman Rockwell painting.

  3. Great photo. Classic! I really like the way he’s standing, his heroic posture, and the surveyor’s focus on what he’s measuring. Cool fedora also.

  4. I noticed the photo dates back to February, 1934. On January 10 that year, the Oregonian published this (on p. 7): “City Engineer Speaker: Members of the Uptown Portland association will meet at noon today in Kelly’s restaurant to hear L.G. Apperson, city engineer, discuss the results of a topographic survey of the West Hills district of Portland. The survey was made to determine the most feasible route for a western city traffic outlet, either by tunnel or road.” I wonder if Apperson is the man in today’s photo?

  5. I had a cousin who lived in Chicago and worked as a road surveyor, mostly on Interstate highways from 1962 to 2005. He traveled/lived in a plain white Ford Econoline with a full sized mattress in the back hopping back and forth from one KOA campground to another. He retired to a campground to somewhere in Florida at age 75!

  6. That is a fine piece of research and certainly an interesting possibility.
    I wonder what the westside outlet was that was contemplated. Perhaps Cornell Road since it has a tunnel.

  7. Liz I came across the name of Henry G Richardson when searching for Portland’s surveyor. The US Census from from 1910 thru 1950 shows Henry G Richard was a surveyor for the City of Portland, and by the 1940 on US Census he is shown as the chief surveyor. Henry G Richardson was born in New York in 1878 and would have been 55 or 56 when this photo was taken in 1934. Mr. Richardson died in California in 1961.

  8. Dennis – GREAT sleuthing! I went back to the Historical Oregonian and found a photo of Mr. Richardson. It was printed on December 25, 1948 (p. 24). It might be the same man — the nose and ear seem to be the same. I’d be interested to see what other VP readers think. (That database is available online from the Multnomah County Public Library.)

    Other mentions I found in the Oregonian (and in the Oregon Journal) report his many activities with the Masons, where he held various offices over several decades.

    In addition, The Oregonian reported his score on the Municipal Civil Service Exam in 1920 — it was 87.77%. A long article published on April 15, 1934 (p. 14) titled “Romantic Portland Streets” begins, “Funniest thing about Albina avenue is that it didn’t exist in old Albina,” declared Henry G. Richardson, chief surveyor for the city of Portland. “By that I mean it didn’t exist under that name. The name of Albina was given after the city by that name consolidated with Portland and East Portland.” This is followed by a history of the communities involved.

  9. Liz I think you have a match to the man in the VP photo. By 1948 Henry G Richardson would be 70 years old, and I do see the nose and ear look the same and I also noticed that in both photos the men are wearing eyeglasses with the same frame. Good work as always !

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