William Wheeler (engineer)

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The William Wheeler House, named after Wheeler

William Wheeler (1851-1932) was an American civil engineer and educator.


Wheeler graduated from Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1871. When his former professor, William S. Clark was asked by the Japanese government to assist in the founding of Sapporo Agricultural College (now Hokkaido University), Wheeler accompanied Clark and another MAC graduate, David P. Penhallow, to teach mathematics, civil engineering, and English. As a scientific adviser to the Kaitakushi (Hokkaido Development Commission) he set up a small meteorological observatory, surveyed potential transportation routes and oversaw the construction of a canal.

At Clark's return to the United States, Wheeler became president (in Japanese, "head teacher") of SAC from 1877 to 1879. He traveled to the United States briefly, to marry Fannie Eleanor Hubbard (July 17, 1878). They lived in Sapporo for the final year of Wheeler's contract, finally returning to the United States in December 1879.

In the United States Wheeler worked as a hydraulic engineer, was active in business and community affairs and served as a trustee of Massachusetts Agricultural College (1887-1929).