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Charles Underhill Powell

Charles Underhill Powell, American civil engineer, city planner.

Background

  • Powell, Charles Underhill was born on July 16, 1896 in Glen Head, Long Island. Son of George S. and Hannah (Jackson) Powell.

  • Education

    • Descendant Thomas Powell, of Bethpage, 1641. C.E., Cornell University, 1898.

    Career

    • Engineer Brooklyn Bridge and Jersey Central Railroad, 1898-1899. Engineer subway construction, New York City, 1901-1902, and for City of New York, 1902-1942. Planned Borough of Queens, 75,000 acres, 2,500 miles of streets.

      As chief engineer of Topographical Bureau, 1915-1942. Introduced Philadelphia system of house-numbers and street names for the Borough. Was in charge of title surveys for acquiring property for streets costing $180,000,000.

      Planned and laid out public ocean beach at Rockaway. 6 miles long, and 1,100 acres of Queens Parks. Promoted 30 public improvement laws including Rockaway boardwalk, Conduit Boulevard, Cross-Bay Road and street-closing laws.

      Construction engineering Queen’s Planning Commission, 1929-1942, planning layout of State Parkway System through Borough of Queens costing over $18,000,000. A founder, 1910, Flushing National Bank, director, 1910-1928. Chairman New York World’s Fair Zoning Committee.

      Member commission on basis improvements, New York World’s Fair 1939, planned and mapped land acquisitions for improvements costing 80 million dollars in and leading to the Fair.

    Membership

    Member commission on basis improvements, New York World’s Fair 1939, planned and mapped land acquisitions for improvements costing 80 million dollars in and leading to the Fair. Member Committee of 5, 1909-1920, promoting New York State licensing of civil engrs. and surveyors. Chairman Highway and Traffic Committee of Queens until 1942.

    Trustee Queens Company Savings Bank. Member Board of Examiners for City Surveyors, New New York. Member Flushing History Society.

    Member American Society of Civil Engineers, Farmers’ and Taxpayers’ Association of Boro of Queens (secretary). Member Municipal Engineers of New York City. Trustee Flushing Meeting Society of Friends.

    Club: Fireside (Flushing, New York Wrote: Private and Family Cemeteries of Borough of Queens, Paving Primer, Erosion of Rockaway, Graphic History of Queens Borough, City New York, The Quakers in Flushing, 1657-1937. American and Canadian high jump champion, 1896, and Intercollegiate champion, 1898.

    Connections

    • Married Harriet L. Van Nostrand, October 15, 1902. Children: Fred Jackson, Eleanor Frost (Mistress.
    • father: George S. Powell
    • mother: Hannah (Jackson) Powell
    • spouse: Harriet L. Van Nostrand
    • children: Fred Jackson Powell
    • Eleanor Frost (Mrs Powell
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    Born July 16, 1896
    Died March 26, 1956
    (aged 59)
    Nationality