Reference Entry

Meigs, Montgomery

Carl W. Condit

in Oxford Art Online

ISBN: 9780195335798
Published online January 2003 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI:
Meigs, Montgomery

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(b Augusta, GA, May 3, 1816; d Washington, DC, Jan 2, 1892).

American engineer and architect. Meigs was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and the US Military Academy. He achieved distinction in the construction of government buildings and public works as an officer in the Corps of Engineers, US Army, and as Quartermaster-General of the Union Armies during the American Civil War. He was superintendent of construction for a number of federal projects in Washington, DC, most important of which were the aqueduct of the city water supply system (1852–60) and the wings and dome of the US Capitol (1857–61). The aqueduct included two unusual works of structural engineering: the aqueduct over Cabin John Creek near Washington, an elegant masonry arch bridge with what was then the longest unsupported span in the USA; and the Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge over Rock Creek, a fixed-arch span in which the cast-iron tubular arch ribs functioned also as the water mains of the aqueduct system. For the building of the Capitol, Meigs designed and made extensive use of mechanized construction equipment, of which the most notable examples were the travelling cranes for the wings and the huge radial crane for the dome. Among federal buildings erected in Washington under his authority, the most important were the additions to the General Post Office (...

Reference Entry.  346 words. 

Subjects: Architecture ; Art of the United States ; 19th-Century Art

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