Case School: The Evolving History

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Historical names


In 1884, Prof. John Eisenmann becomes the Head of the department until 1886. He was replaced by Prof. Cady Staley in 1887. Dr Staley also was the President of the School. In 1887, Frank Neff was appointed Instructor in Mathematics and Civil Engineering.  After Staley's resignation in 1902, Prof. Frank Neff becomes head of the departments and continues as head until 1931.

In 1887, a new course in sanitary engineering was added to the curriculum. In 1888, the civil engineering department added Student Inspection Trips as part of the practical instruction. These trips took students to "the various engineering works, quarries and industrial manufacturers of practical interest to the engineer."

At the beginnings of 1890, more emphasis was given to the road and bridge engineering.

In 1894, Prof. Charles Trumbull joins the department.

Mr. Charles Gaffing, a graduate of the class of 1888 received the first Civil Engineering degree in 1897 with a thesis entitled “The Extension of the Cleveland Water Supply."


Like the other School departments, the Civil Engineering department was focusing on keeping up with new developments and the industry needs. Thus, in 1904, the department offered course in railroad engineering, along with highway engineering, roads and bridges and details of construction. However, when the importance of railroad engineering reduced by 1929, the department's  emphasis changed to highway engineering and mechanics of structures.

The Department occupied twelve rooms in the Main building and used the campus and adjacent grounds to teach surveying. In 1907,  the rooms were used as recitation rooms, drafting rooms, library and reading rooms, cement and concrete laboratories, and offices. The library contained 1000 volumes, 2200 indexed pamphlets and 7000 prints and photographs. "The instrument room contained a precise level of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Model, a 100-foot standard bar for comparison of tapes, 20 complete engineer's transits, 12 engineer's shovels, chains, level and sight rods of all types, and many cases of structural models and materials.''

To increase practical opportunities for students, the department established the first off-campus Surveying Camp in 1907. Known as Case Camp, the location moved every other year or so, until 1918 when it moved to Waynersburg and remained there until 1938.


The Civil Engineering Department occupied the first two floors of the Warner Building which opened in 1928. The Department increased the course offerings and expanded the facilities and equipment and saw an increase in student numbers.

George Barnes becomes the head of the department in 1933. He developed the hydraulics and sanitary laboratory, the structural models laboratory, the concrete laboratory, the highways laboratory and the Civil Engineering Department Library. He also supervised the design and construction of campus paving and construction of the Lilac Drive stairway. Professionally, he was engaged with the United States Corps of Engineers in designing fifteen dams for flood control in the Muskingum Valley.

The Department continued to run Case Camp. In 1938, the camp relocated from Waynesburg to Mohican State Forest near Loudonville, Ohio. The first assignment of the summer campers was to do a topographical survey of the 2,500 acres for the state in advance of the next objective of Case students, laying out roads, bridges and reforestation projects.
The Case that was: Camp days

Written by the late Carl S. Bacik ’48 for the fall 2007 Case Alumnus.

Camp Case in Loudonville, Ohio, was at one time a rite of passage for every Case engineering student. For two memorable weeks, sandwiched between the last days of summer and the start of the fall semester, groups of engineering students came together to learn how to solve complicated engineering problems.

Operating as teams and using transits and levels to shoot elevation lines and plot topography, the students worked together to master the complex skills that one day would be required of them in their chosen professions.

Each morning, after sleeping in tents, the students would arise to calisthenics, followed by breakfast. Then they'd take to the streets to tackle the engineering exercise of the day. Their exercises would often take them into the woods and down roads specifically set aside for their work.

Students were not allowed to bring cars to the camp.