- Thomas Keefer
Thomas Coltrin Keefer (
4 November 1821– 7 January 1915) was a Canadian civil engineer.
Born into an Empire Loyalist family in Thorold Township,
Upper Canada, the son of George Keeferand Jane Emory, née McBride, his father was Chairman of the Welland Shipping Canal Company. After attending Upper Canada Collegehe began his engineering training by working on the Erie Canaland continued his learning experience later on the Welland Canal. He became well known for his writings, particularly “Philosophy of Railroads” and “Philosophy of Canals”, and himself surveyed for a railway connecting Kingston, Ontario, and Toronto(1851), was in charge of the survey for a line between Montréaland Kingston, and determined the site for the Victoria Bridge that crosses the St. Lawrence Riverin Montréal.
However, his engineering focus was on water supply. He became Chief Engineer of the
Montreal Water Boardand also built the Ottawa Water Works. One of his best known achievements was the construction of the Hamilton Water Works, an achievement commemorated by the preservation of the Pumping Station as the Hamilton Museum of Power and Steam. His design for the foundations of the Victoria Bridge (“Keefer’s Shoes”) was used in the construction of the bridge. Keefer was a co-founder and the first Presidentof the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers. He was also President of the American Society of Civil Engineersand of the Canadian Institute. He was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Canadain 1890 and was its president from 1898 to 1899.
He served as chief engineer of the
Montréal Water Boardand designed the water-supply system for Hamilton, Ontario(1859), as well as the waterworks in Ottawa (1874). His Hamilton Pumping Station, with its working Gartshore beam engines, has been declared a national historic site. Keefer was a founding member and first president of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers(1887). As the "Dean of Canadian engineers," he received many honours, including the presidency of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
He died in Ottawa in 1915. His son,
Charles Keefer, was also a notable Canadiancivil engineer.
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