The Resource 1817 Feb. 17
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- 1817 Feb. 17
- Letter, dated 17 February 1817, from Loammi Baldwin (1780-1838) of Richmond, Virginia, to his brother, Benjamin F. Baldwin (1777-1821) of Woburn, Massachusetts, detailing Loammi Baldwin's arrival in Richmond to serve as engineer for the Board of Public Works and discussing family matters
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- Loammi Baldwin was born 16 May 1780 in North Weburn, Massachusetts, to Loammi Brown (1744/5-1807) and Mary Fowle. He attended Westford Academy and Harvard University, graduating from the latter in 1800. Interested in mechanics, Baldwin however turned to studying law when he learned that an apprenticeship would take seven years and would be expensive. While studying law in Groton, Massachusetts, Baldwin designed the town's first fire engine in 1802. Admitted to the bar in 1804, he practiced for three years in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1807, he left the law to take up civil engineering. After travelling to Europe to visit public engineering works there, he returned to Massachusetts and began work. He built Fort Strong in Boston Harbor, and in 1819 became the city's engineer of improvements. Between 1817 and 1820, he worked as chief engineer on public works in Virginia. In 1821, he helped construct the Union Canal in Pennsylvania, although he resigned over a controversy about the measurements of one its dams. Eventually, Baldwin's calculations were determined to be correct. In the 1820s, he worked on several canal and railroad projects in Massachusetts. He worked simultaneously on large masonry drydocks in both Charlestown, Massachusetts, and Norfolk, Virginia, and both were completed in 1833. He surveyed New York City's harbor for drydocks, but they were not constructed until after his death. He wrote several engineering reports on topics ranging from bringing water into Boston to railroad projects in Florida and Georgia. Baldwin served as a member of the State Executive Committee in 1835 and as a presidential elector in 1836. Baldwin died 30 June 1838.
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