History & Heritage
393808 - An Outstanding Minnesota Civil (and Water) Engineer and ASCE Minnesota Founder: Frederick W. Cappelen (1857 - 1921)
Monday, June 4
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Greenway CD
Frederick William Cappelen was born on October 21, 1857, in Drammen, Norway. Frederick graduated from Dresden Polytechnic Institute (Germany) as a Civil Engineer with the highest honors ever won at that time by a foreign student. At Brainerd, Minnesota from 1881 to 1884, he served as Assistant Engineer (Missoula Division) of the Northern Pacific Railway Company. Then, he worked for the City of Minneapolis as Bridge Engineer, remaining in that position until 1892. During this time, he designed and built three highway bridges across the Mississippi River. On January 2, 1893, he was elected City Engineer of Minneapolis. During a latter term, he built the St. Anthony Bridge, which crossed the Mississippi at St. Anthony Falls. Cappelen was responsible for the design of water projects in Minneapolis, including the Prospect Park Water Tower and the Kenwood Park Water Tower and in 1895, he designed the Minneapolis Reservoir System which was the first step toward the purification of the city water supply. Cappelen has been cited as the “Father” of Minneapolis water supply. The current Franklin Avenue bridge, later named the Cappelen Memorial Bridge (of reinforced concrete construction, 1030 ft. long with five spans), was designed and its construction started by Cappelen. In 1913 he again became City Engineer. When the Northwest Section (later Minnesota Section) of ASCE began in 1914, Frederick W. Cappelen served as the first President.