Arthur Powell Davis

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Arthur Powell Davis
Born (1861-02-09)February 9, 1861
Decatur, Illinois
Died August 7, 1933(1933-08-07) (aged 72)
Washington D.C.
Resting place Rock Creek Cemetery
Alma mater George Washington University
Occupation Hydrographer
Employer US Geological Survey
Known for Co-founding the National Geographic Society

Arthur Powell Davis (February 9, 1861 – August 7, 1933) was an American hydrographer, engineer, geographer, topographer and nephew of John Wesley Powell.[1] He was born on February 9, 1861, in Decatur, Illinois and received his Civil Engineering degree from George Washington University in 1888. Upon graduation he joined his uncle west on the US Geological Survey through New Mexico, Arizona, and California. He then worked in hydrography in places as far flung as China, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Turkestan. In 1888 he co-founded the National Geographic Society, and in 1907 he was elected president of the Washington Society of Engineers. He served as the Director of the Reclamation Service (now the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation) from 1914 to 1923.[2]

Boulder Dam (later called Hoover Dam) was fundamentally the conception of Arthur Powell Davis. A month before he died, Arthur Powell Davis was appointed Consulting Engineer on the dam project. Mr. Davis had his vision back in 1902. He died in Oakland, California, on August 7, 1933, and is buried in St. Paul’s Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C., along with his wife, Elizabeth B. Davis. The Davis Dam is named after him.[3] Arthur Davis brought more to his job than ambition. Like other progressive Republicans, he had deep faith in the role of experts (he himself held a degree in civil engineering), worshipped efficiency, and viewed the federal government as a major instrument for social and political reform.

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  1. ^
  2. ^ "Arthur P. Davis, Director, Reclamation Service, 1914-1923". U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Hundley, Norris (2001). The Great Thirst. University of California Press. p. 205. 

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