WASHINGTON, WALTER OWEN
WASHINGTON, WALTER OWEN (1883–1954). Walter Owen Washington, engineer, son of Ella (Maxwell) and Thomas Pratt Washington (and grandson of Thomas Pratt Washingtonqv), was born in Travis County on September 24, 1883. He received his early education in a country school near Austin. He was graduated from the University of Texas in 1904 with a degree in civil engineering and returned in 1908 for graduate work in mining engineering. In the interim he worked on railroad location surveys in Texas and western Mexico, and in 1909 he opened an engineering office in McAllen. He was an officer in the engineering corps during World War I. After the war he became a partner in the firm of Whiteaker and Washington and maintained an office in San Antonio until 1923. Washington provided engineering service for many Texas counties and was county engineer of Cameron County from 1920 to 1939. He pioneered advanced practices in the construction of concrete highways, particularly in rigid control over water-cement ratios for strength in concrete pavement mixes. Washington supervised construction of the Rio Grande valley's flood-control system of levees and floodways in Cameron County. In 1939–40 he was construction engineer for a Work Projects Administration federal water control and irrigation canal program in Willacy County. As Brownsville's city engineer, 1941–42, he supervised the building of runways and facilities at the municipal airport. During 1943–45 he was supervising engineer for the construction of synthetic rubber plants at Corpus Christi and Ingleside, Texas. His last thirty-five years were spent in Brownsville. He was active in numerous professional and historical associations and received various awards for his work. He married Bernice Beth Haskell on October 17, 1910, in Greenville, Texas; they had six children. Washington died on July 4, 1954, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin.
Brownsville Herald, June 3, 1951, July 5, 1954. Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Who's Who in Engineering: A Biographical Dictionary, 6th ed.