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John Debo Galloway, 1869-1943

John Debo Galloway, 1869-1943

John Debo Galloway, the son of James and Emily Myers (Hoover) Galloway, was born on October 13, 1869, at San Jose, Calif. His ancestors were residents of Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania prior to the American Revolution. His parents died when he was still quite young. Left to his own resources, one of his dominant characteristics, self-reliance, early came to the fore. His boyhood experiences, some of which were acquired at Virginia City, Nev., bound, when that city was the center of the great mining activity incident to the discovery and development of the famous Comstock Lode, made a deep impression upon him. At the age of eight he was taken to live with friends in Napa Valley, California.

His technical education was gained at Rose Polytechnic Institute, Terre Haute, Ind., and was graduated in 1889. Upon graduation he was employed in railroad work in the Pacific Northwest. From 1892 to 1896 he was chief engineer for Healy- Tibbitts Construction Company of San Francisco. In this capacity he personally directed the construction of important bridges, harbor works, sewers, and difficult foundation work. From June 1896 to September 1897, he was employed in the engineering department of Pacific Rolling Mill Company of San Francisco, on designing and detailing steel building frames.

From September 1897 to October 1899, he was an instructor in drawing and mechanics at California School of Mechanical Arts in San Francisco. In this capacity he made a deep impression on his students, many of whom became leaders of the engineering profession. Among them was Arthur H. Markwart, who later became Mr. Galloway's partner. From October 1899 to May 1900, Galloway was chief engineer for Colusa Stone Company. After May 1900, he maintained an independent practice as a consulting engineer.

For the California Gas and Electric Company, predecessor of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, he directed the design and construction of the cable span across the Straits of Carquinez. This span, which was a part of the world's then longest transmission line, was also the then longest cable span.

From 1900 to 1906, the period just prior to the San Francisco earthquake and fire of April 18, 1906, he designed and supervised hydraulic and structural construction for several hydroelectric plants which were later absorbed in the system of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. He also designed the hydraulic and structural features for the first two hydroelectric plants of the system later owned by the California Electric Power Company; and the structural elements of some of the city's principal buildings including the Mutual Savings Bank Building, the St. Francis Hotel, the Shreve Buildings, the Schroth Building, the Syndicate Building of Oakland, etc. He was one of the earliest advocates of earthquake-resistant design, and the merit of his reasoning was fully demonstrated by structures designed by him, when they were subjected to the effects of the great earthquake.

Immediately after the earthquake he formed a partnership with John Galen Howard, as Howard and Galloway, Architects and Engineers. William C. Hays and Mr. Markwart were junior partners. This firm took a leading part in the design of San Francisco's reconstructed commercial district. The firm also designed and supervised the construction of buildings and grounds for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition at Seattle, Wash.

At this time he also served with Charles D. Marx and Wynne Meredith on the Board of Advisory Engineers on the design and construction of the Stanislaus Hydroelectric Power Plant, California.

From 1908 to 1920 he was associated with Mr. Markwart on consulting work. Galloway and Markwart designed and built several railway and combined highway and railway bridges in the Sacramento Valley, California, a hydroelectric power plant in Yosemite National Park, and a number of important buildings. The firm made investigations and reports upon utility properties, including those of Oro Electric Corporation, Butte and Tehama Power Company, City Electric Company, Yolo Water and Power Company, and Santa Barbara Gas and Electric Company. Galloway investigated and reported on existing and possible additional power developments on the Menominee River, Michigan and Wisconsin; on power possibilities on Deschutes River in Oregon; on power developments on the Feather River and Yuba River in California; on development of hydroelectric power on Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada; and on power projects on Pit River, California. He also conducted extensive examinations and reports, in many instances including appraisals on irrigation systems. Among the properties concerned were those of Turlock Irrigation District and Modesto Irrigation District; Honcut-Yuba Irrigation District; Fresno Canal and Land Corporation; Mendota Irrigation District; Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District; and Sutter Butte Canal Company. With J. B. Lippincott, B. A. Etcheverry, F. C. Herrmann, W. L. Huber, and F. H. Tibbetts, he was a member of the Board of Advisory Engineers on the Sacramento Valley Division of the Central Valley Project in California. This board made studies of dams on the larger rivers giving special consideration to the Shasta (Kennett) Dam and the use of water in the Sacramento Valley.

Galloway rendered extensive service to Great Western Power Company-first in connection with the design and construction of extensions and additions to its Las Plumas Plant on Feather River; and later in connection with the design and construction of its Caribou Plant on the same stream. As consulting engineer, he represented the company on the construction of the Bucks Creek hydroelectric power plant.

With Frank G. Baum and W. F. Durand, Galloway was a member of the Board of Consulting Engineers on the location and design of the Moccasin Creek hydroelectric plant on the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct of the City of San Francisco. For Pacific Gas and Electric Company he served as consulting engineer in connection with the concrete masonry dams for Pit No. 3 and Pit No. 4 power plants on the Pit River, the enlargement of Fordyce rock-fill dam on Yuba River, and the design and construction of the 328-ft. Salt Springs rock-fill dam on Mokelumne River. With Robert Ridgway, Arthur N. Talbot, and M. M. O'Shaughnessy, he was a member of the first Commission of San Francisco on the location of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

He was married on April 19, 1894, to Nettie Mabel Barnes whom he had known since early childhood in Napa Valley. Mrs. Galloway died on June 14, 1941. He had two daughters, Mrs. E. Ronald Foster and Mrs. Alice Wilder, and three grandchildren, John D., Margaret Ellen, and Rosemary Foster.

John Debo Galloway died on March 10, 1943 in Berkeley, California.

Excerpted from: Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers.Vol. 109 (1944).

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About

John Debo Galloway Papers, 1905-1940 ca. 11 linear ft. (22 boxes)

Correspondence, reports, photographs, and miscellaneous material, relating to various bridges, dams, water supply systems, and hydroelectric power installations in California, including the Hetch Hetchy Project, the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and to electrical distribution systems in California and British Columbia.

Online collection guide available via the Online Archive of California.

Call number: GALLOWAY

Last modified: 5/4/2011 11:52 AM by S. Haren

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