James P. Kirkwood
James Pugh Kirkwood was a 19th-century American civil engineer, general superintendent of the Erie Railroad in the year 1849-1850. He left the Erie to go to the southwest to construct railroads, he made the first survey for the Pacific Railroad west from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains. Late 1860s he served as President of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Kirkwood was born in Edinburgh, Scotland He graduated at the Edinburgh College, learned civil engineering on the Boston and Albany Railroad, an early work from which a number of engineers and contractors came to the Erie when it was building. Kirkwood had come to the United States in 1832 with letters to McNeill, who arranged work for him on the Norwich Worcester Railroad, he served on the Boston & Providence Railroad, in 1835 became Assistant Engineer of the Stonington Railroad. In that same year he surveyed the route for the Long Island Rail Road, opened from the foot of Atlantic street to Hicksville in 1837, he had charge of the construction of that road until operations were stopped by the panic of 1837.
In 1840 Kirkwood was Resident Engineer on the Mountain Division of the Western Rail Road. Where he remained until its completion in 1843, he constructed the Springfield & Northampton Rail Road. In 1848 he completed the Starrucca Viaduct as Superintendent in one season; this success led to his appointment as General Superintendent of the Erie Railroad in April 1, 1849, where he succeeded Hezekiah C. Seymour. Only one year at Erie Railroad, May 1, 1850, Kirkwood was succeeded by Charles Minot, became Chief Engineer of the Missouri Pacific Railroad; the Pacific Railroad, was responsible for the construction of the road from St. Louis to Pacific, Missouri; the towns of Kirkwood and Kirkwood, New York, are named after him. Late 1860s he consulted on and completed the Bergen Tunnel in 1858-9. At this time he was Engineer of the Brooklyn Water Supply, whose successful completion was due to his efforts. In 1865 he was appointed Chief Engineer of St. Louis, Missouri, in charge of the design of a state-of-the-art waterworks.
He served in that capacity until 1867, when he was replaced by Thomas Jefferson Whitman, brother of Walt Whitman. In 1867 he moved back to New York and served as President of the American Society of Civil Engineers from 1867 to 1868. In the last years of his life he was consulting engineer at Massachusetts water-works. In 1877 Kirkwood was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery; the Starrucca Viaduct was designed by Julius W. Adams and James P. Kirkwood and built in 1847-1848 by New York and Erie Railroad, of locally quarried random ashlar bluestone, except for three brick interior longitudinal spandrel walls and the concrete base portions of the piers and deck covering; this may have been the first structural use of concrete in American bridge construction. The viaduct was built to solve an engineering problem posed by the wide valley of Starrucca Creek; the railroad considered building an embankment, but abandoned the idea because it was impractical. The Erie Railroad was well-financed by British investors, but with money available, most American contractors at the time were incapable of the task.
Julius W. Adams, the superintending engineer of construction in the area, hired James P. Kirkwood, a civil engineer who had worked on the Long Island Rail Road. Accounts differ as to whether Kirkwood worked on the bridge himself, or whether Adams was responsible for the plans with Kirkwood working as a subordinate, it took 800 workers, each paid about $1 per day, equal to $28.96 per day today, to complete the bridge in a year. The falsework for the bridge required more than half a million feet of hewn timbers; the first general superintendent, Hezekiah C. Seymour, came from Oneida County, got the name on the road of the "Oneida Chief." In 1849 a successor to Superintendent Seymour was to be appointed, as he intended to quit the service. S. S. Post was superintendent of transportation, he was in the line of promotion to the general superintendency, as he was popular with the employees, they were delighted with the prospect of having him as their superintendent. James P. Kirkwood was mentioned in connection with the place.
W. H. Stewart ran what was called the night line, and, in expectation of hearing the news somewhere along the line that Post had been elected superintendent, he had a big transparency, inscribed "S. S. Post, General Superintendent," all ready to light and display on his train; the news came, that Kirkwood was the choice of the Directors, there was great disappointment among the "boys." This was in April, 1849. It is probable, that S. S. Post's long connection with the Railroad Company, his popularity, would have secured him the place. Superintendent Kirkwood became known among the railroad men as the "Silent Man," from a peculiarity of his disposition, his office was at New York. Audience with him was obtained, as the caller entered, the superintendent would look up at him a moment. If the caller did not at once go on to mention the business that had brought him there, Kirkwood would turn his eyes back to his work without a word; the visitor might stand or sit there all the rest of the day without the Superintendent paying any more attention to
James Kirkwood Sr.
James Kirkwood Sr. was an American actor and director. Kirkwood was soon playing leads for D. W. Griffith, he started directing in 1912, became a favorite of Mary Pickford. In 1923 he married actress Lila Lee, he was George Melford's original choice for the starring role of Sheik Ahmed Ben Hassan in The Sheik, famously passed to Rudolph Valentino. His directing career fizzled in 1920, his film career would span more than two hundred films over nearly a half century. Many years his son, James Jr. would become a successful writer, winning both a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize for A Chorus Line. He died at Hospital. James Kirkwood Sr. on IMDb James Kirkwood Sr. at the Internet Broadway Database James Kirkwood Sr. at Find a Grave James Kirkwood Sr. profile at SilentGents.com Kirkwood & Norma Shearer in Broken Barriers, 1924 Kirkwood with Mrs. Wallace Reid in Human Wreckage.