Engineer, sightseer

Years ago, while hiking in the Hetch Hetchy valley near Yosemite in California, I came to rest briefly on the O’Shaughnessy Dam that corks the bowels of the valley. Reading the bronze plaque there displayed, I was amazed and impressed to discover that the dam was built by M.M. O’Shaughnessy. This giant structure wasn’t named for a politician… it was named for the engineer who built it. I thought this was remarkably honest and pleasant thing to do (too bad for old M.M. the dam is so unpopular).

You don’t hear about the engineers who make things so often as you do about the architects who design or the astronauts who fly the things they make. And you don’t often hear about engineering marvels worth visiting as such. So I was pleased to come across the Sightseer’s Guide to Engineering. They’ve got eyepoppers in every state. See the
Alaska Pipeline or the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel. I have to confess, I have no idea how they nominate their marvels. There are only five sights listed for all of California, and one of them is the Herman Goelitz Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield. I just hope that Herman Goelitz is the engineer who built the first jellybean.

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