Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Scope and Content Note

Organization of Collection

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Photographs

Brochures

University of Texas San Antonio

W.E. Simpson Collection, 1909-circa 1990



Descriptive Summary

Creator: W. E. Simpson Company
Title: W.E. Simpson Collection,
Dates: 1909-circa 1990
Creator Abstract: 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.
Content Abstract: 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.
Identification: MS 396
Extent: .75 linear feet (about 860 photographs)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections

Historical Note

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.

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Scope and Content Note

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.

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Organization of Collection

Series 1. Photographs, 1909-1980s (bulk 1909-1930s)
Series 2. Brochures, 1980s-1990s

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

This collection is housed at UTSA's HemisFair Park Campus.

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Index Terms

Organizations
W. E. Simpson Company
Subjects
San Antonio (Tex.)--Buildings, structures, etc.
San Antonio (Tex.)--Flood, 1921--Pictorial works
Paseo del Rio (San Antonio, Tex.)
Gulf Building (Houston, Tex.)
Structural engineering.
Simpson, Willard Eastman
Locations
San Antonio (Tex.)
Houston (Tex.)
Galveston (Tex.)
Orange (Tex.)
Laredo (Tex.)
Texas Hill Country (Tex.)
Genres/Formats
Photographs.
Brochures.

Local Subjects

San Antonio History
Photographs/Photography
Urban Development and Growth
Architecture/Historic Preservation

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], W. E. Simpson Collection, MS 396, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to the ITC Library in 2004.

Processing Information

Processed by Heather M. Ferguson, 2012.10.04

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Photographs

Album 1
Box Folder
1 1 Tank at Orange Texas, undated
1 Brackenridge High School, San Antonio, Texas, circa 1916
2 Southern Ice & Cold Storage Co., San Antonio, Texas, undated
2 South San Antonio Cotton Mills, undated
2 San Antonio Portland Cement Co., 1924-1925
3 San Antonio Portland Cement Co., circa 1913-1925
4 Smith Young Tower, San Antonio, Texas, circa 1925-1928
5 Gulf Building, Houston, Texas, circa 1928-1929
5 W.E. Simpson, Sr. atop the Gulf Building Houston, Texas, circa 1929
6 Bridge across the Colorado River at Marble Falls, Texas, 1935
6 Bridge across Guadalupe River at Center Point, Texas, 1934
6 Highway bridge at Boerne, Texas, undated
6 Hogg Dam near Helotes, Texas, undated
7 St. Anthony Hotel, San Antonio, Texas, undated
8 Galveston, Texas, undated
8 San Antonio, Texas, undated
8 Bat Cave at Rocksprings, Texas, undated
Album 2
Box Folder
1 9 Buildings as Fort Crockett, Galveston , Texas, circa 1909-1911
10 Medina irrigation project flume, undated
11 Blue Star Elevator Co., undated
12 Texas Hill Country Highway System, 1920s-1930s
13 Texas Military Institute, San Antonio, Texas, circa 1910-1911
13 Flood, San Antonio, Texas, 1921
14 Nix Hotel, Austin, Texas, undated
14 Devil's River Dam, Del Rio, Texas, undated
15 Joskie-Oppenheimer residences, San Antonio, Texas, undated
15 San Antonio brewery tank, undated
16 Water tanks, Del Rio, Texas, 1929-1931
16 Suspension bridge, Waco, Texas, undated
16 Pioneer Flour Mill, San Antonio, Texas, circa 1914
17 San Antonio Express-News building, undated
17 Medina Dam, undated
18 Tank at Legion, Texas, undated
18 Chapman warehouse, undated
18 Dignowity Hill school, undated
18 Halff warehouse, undated
18 Walker Moore warehouse, undated
18 Brooks Field test, undated
18 Bridge, Fort Worth, Texas, undated
19 Orange wharfs and docks, Orange, Texas, undated
19 Water tank at Texas Military Institute, San Antonio, Texas, undated
Album3
Box Folder
1 20 Surveying near San Louis Potosi, Mexico, undated
21 International Bridge over the Rio Grande River, Laredo, Texas, circa 1920-1921
22 Orange wharfs and docks, Orange, Texas, undated
22 Bridge at Junction, Texas, undated
23 San Antonio Drug Co., circa 1918
24 National Bank of Commerce, San Antonio, Texas, undated
25 River Walk, San Antonio, Texas, undated
Assorted Photographs
Box Folder
1 26 Water tank [Del Rio, Texas?], circa 1929
26 Dam [unidentified], undated
27 International Bridge over the Rio Grande River, Laredo, Texas, undated
28 A.B. Frank Building, San Antonio, Texas, circa 1926
29 Smith Young Tower, San Antonio, Texas, undated
30 Public Service Co. (Petroleum Bldg.), undated
31 San Antonio Portland Cement Co., circa 1954-1957
32 One Riverwalk Place, circa 1976-1979
32 Medical Center Towers, circa 1976-1979
32 San Antonio International Airport, circa 1976-1980

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Brochures

Box Folder
1 33 W.E. Simpson Company, Inc., 1980s
33 Simpson Group, 1990s

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