W.E. Simpson Collection, 1909-circa 1990
Willard Eastman Simpson Sr., one of the early pioneers in the emerging field of consulting structural engineering in Texas graduated from the West Texas Military Academy (now Texas Military Institute- TMI) in 1901. After graduating from TMI, Simpson attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering with a specialization in structural design in June 1905. Simpson was employed for one year as an assistant instructor at MIT before moving to Tucson, Arizona in 1906 where he worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad as an engineer-draftsman drawing plans for railroads in Mexico. Shortly after, Simpson returned to his home town, San Antonio, Texas, in 1907 to work as a draftsman for architect J. Flood Walker. In 1909 Simpson, along with his brother Guy Simpson, established the G.C. Simpson Construction Company. During this time, the company constructed buildings for the TMI campus in San Antonio and at Fort Crockett in Galveston. These historic structures were early design-build projects that implemented innovative construction techniques such as the Aiken’s tilt-up slab method where concrete walls were cast flat on the ground then lifted into place, possibly the first in the nation.
By 1911 the Simpson brothers reorganized the company and founded the W.E. Simpson Co., concentrating on consulting engineering and design. For over 60 years Mr. Simpson practiced civil engineering, specializing in structural engineering and helped to establish this profession in Texas. Prior to Simpson’s death on June 7, 1967 at the age of 84, the company was organized as a partnership with Simpson, Mr. Gerhardt and Willard Jr. as partners. Then during the fall of 1968 the company was reorganized as a corporation with Mr. Gerhardt as President and Willard, Jr. as Executive Vice President. In 1985 Willard E. Simpson Jr. retired and in 1986 Douglas Steadman became President.
Late in 1990 the Howard Gaddis Company was purchased and the name of that firm was changed to Gaddis/Simpson Engineers, Inc. The 1990 acquisition of Gaddis brought about change in the W.E. Simpson Company’s corporate setup which was then changed to The Simpson Group, Inc. As a result, The Simpson Group, Inc. became the holding company for Gaddis/Simpson Engineers and the new corporation, W.E. Simpson Company, Inc. The Simpson Group, Inc. served as the operating company, holding all the stock, while the other two firms did the consulting engineering and architecture. On February 13, 1998, the Simpson Group was purchased by HDR Engineering, Inc. to form HDR/Simpson.
Source: Steadman, Doug. A History of W. E. Simpson Company from 1909 to 1993. San Antonio, TX: The Company, [199?].
Source: Weingardt, Richard G., "Willard E. Simpson: The Darling Texan"Structure Magazine Jun. 2006: 58-61.
Source: "Willard Eastman Simpson, P.E. 1883-1967."Structural Engineers Association of Texas seaot.org 2005. Date accessed 11 Oct. 2012.
The collection includes three photograph albums documenting the W.E. Simpson Company’s projects in building construction and civil-structural engineering around South Texas including San Antonio, Houston, Galveston and the Hill Country from the 1900s-1930s. Also included in the collection are photographs of later projects that date from the mid-1950s to the early 1980s. Images in the collection document a wide variety of projects ranging from educational, military, and medical facilities, as well as industrial plants, office buildings, hotels, and private residences. Many of the region’s landmark structures are represented, such as the Smith and Young Building in San Antonio, and Houston’s Gulf Building. The images encompass views of other civil engineering projects such as dams, reservoirs, and many of the region’s first county highways, culverts and bridges including the International Bridge over the Rio Grande River near Laredo as well as the construction of the San Antonio River Walk. The collection is comprised of approximately 860 images, primarily black and white photographs, but also includes some color views of the later projects. A second series consists of brochures for the W.E. Simpson Company and Simpson Group.
This collection is housed at UTSA's Hemisfair Campus.
[Identification of item], W. E. Simpson Collection, MS 396, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.
The collection was donated to the ITC Library in 2004.
Processed by Heather M. Ferguson, 2012.10.04
Detailed Description of the Collection