San Francisco County
WALTER L. HUBER
One of the foremost civil engineers of the Pacific coast is Walter L. Huber of San Francisco, who has been the engineer and consultant for many corporations, companies and municipalities in the accomplishment of their most important scientific projects, and has likewise been engaged extensively in the design and supervision of the structural features of many of the state’s most modern and pretentious buildings and bridges. Scion of one of California’s genuine pioneer families, Mr. Huber was born in San Francisco, January 4, 1883, and is a son of the late Millard F. Huber and Celia (Dill) Huber.
Walter L. Huber’s paternal descent is from an old Pennsylvania family, members of which may be traced to a date prior to the American Revolution. His grandfather, John W. Huber, was reared and educated in the Keystone state, and in 1849 came across the western plains in a covered wagon drawn by ox-team. He settled in Yolo county, California, where he engaged in farming and ably performed his part in the development of that locality. His son, Millard F. Huber, born in Broderick, California, a farmer by occupation, died June 26, 1920, when he was sixty-three years of age. His wife, Celia (Dill) Huber, was born in Yolo county, a daughter of Henry and Eva (Burt) Dill, both of whom came to California during the gold rush of 1849. The father was a farmer and blacksmith, and lived in Yolo county during his entire life. Walter L. Huber is the eldest of three children born to his parents, the others being Hazel Huber Smith of Burlingame, California, and Earl Raymond Huber. Mrs. Celia D. Huber survives her husband, and is now a resident of San Francisco.
Walter L. Huber was educated in the public schools of Yolo county, in the Woodland high school, and the University of California, from which latter institution he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1905. He studied for the vocation which he had determined upon when he was a boy, and his subsequent record has proved the wisdom of his aspirations in most gratifying measure. In 1903 and 1904, before his graduation, he was engaged on subdivision and street work for the Oakland Realty Syndicate in Piedmont and Oakland. After his graduation, he became employed in the engineering firm of John D. Galloway, which later became Howard and Galloway, and in this connection he remained for five years. In 1905-06, he was assistant engineer on design and supervision of structural and hydro-electrical projects, including a plant of The Nevada California Power Company, the thirteen-story addition to the St. Francis Hotel, and other tall buildings. From 1906 to 1908, he was the chief structural designer for Howard and Galloway, which was then one of the principal architectural firms engaged in rebuilding San Francisco after the great fire of 1906. This work included some of the city’s largest buildings, also buildings in Berkeley and Santa Rosa, and the design of all permanent buildings for the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in Seattle. From 1908 to 1910, Mr. Huber was chief engineer for the supervising architect of the University of California. He designed and supervised the construction of the structural features of the original Doe Memorial Library; Boalt Hall of Law; Sather Gate and concrete arch bridge; and of several commercial buildings in San Francisco. During 1910, he had charge of an hydro-electric survey and investigation of the Calaveras river. Then from 1910 to 1913, he served as district engineer for District No. 5 of the United States Forest Service, which district comprised all of the National Forests in California and southwestern Nevada. His duties in this capacity included all engineering work of the Service in this territory, such as roads, trails, bridge building, mapping, as well as reports on all water power development.
In 1913, Mr. Huber established himself in private practice of civil engineering, with offices in San Francisco. His accomplishments since that date are a matter of noteworthy interest. He has rendered extensive service as consulting engineer for the California Board Certification Commission, and in this connection has prepared numerous extensive reviews and reports on California irrigation districts. From 1913 to 1915, he was engineer for Hillcrest Orchards, Incorporated. In 1916 and 1917, as consulting engineer for the Anderson Cottonwood Irrigation District, he revised plans for development and prepared estimates and recommendations for a supplemental bond issue. In 1918 and 1919, he performed similar service for the La Mesa, Lemon Grove and Spring Valley Irrigation District, including valuation of the properties of the Cuyamaca Water Company. In 1920, he served the North Star Mines Company in connection with hydraulic matters, appearances before California public utility commission, etc. He completed a valuation of the works of the Consolidated Canal Company for Consolidated Irrigation District in 1921, and in the same year valuated the works of the Fresno Canal Company for Fresno Irrigation District. From 1921 to 1925, he was consulting engineer for the city of San Luis Obispo in connection with its water supply. From 1913 to 1930 he was consulting engineer for the Hillside Water Company and Cain Irrigation Company. He has also served as consulting engineer for The Nevada California Power Company and The Southern Sierras Power Company. His work in this connection has included hydro-graphic studies and reports on all new developments, services as engineering expert, review of designs and construction work in progress on projects the aggregate cost of which has been several million dollars. In 1925, Mr. Huber was special engineering consultant for the Great Western Power Company on design of certain hydraulic structures. From 1913 to date, he has made numerous reports on irrigation and Hydro-electric properties for San Francisco financial firms, the aggregate cost of which has totaled several million dollars; this work was mostly of confidential nature.
From 1913 to date, Mr. Huber has also had extensive practice in design and supervision of structural work including, among a very great number, the structural features of several principal buildings of the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco; the Oakland Young Women’s Christian Association building; the Metropolitan Life Insurance building in San Francisco, including special foundation problems in connection with the Stockton street tunnel; many important commercial buildings in San Francisco; the foundations of the twenty-six story Pacific Telephone building in San Francisco; the Phoebe A. Hearst Memorial building at the University of California; the Long Beach Young Women’s Christian Association building; the Stockton Medico-Dental building of twelve stories; the Ames Harris Neville factory building; the Alameda Masonic Temple building; Sacramento Public Market; Community Center Gymnasium in Santa Barbara; the Christian Science Benevolent Association building in San Francisco; the South Side High School Gymnasium in San Francisco; the Veteran’s Home building in Yountville, California; Machinery Hall in the State Fair Grounds in Sacramento; the Horticultural building, the Agricultural engineering building and the Animal Sciences building for the University of California State Farm at Davis, California; the Roosevelt junior high school in San Francisco; and Wards K and L of the Laguna Honda Home in San Francisco. During this period he served as special consulting engineer of Sutter county, California, also Shasta county, on bridge problems; designed concrete bridge over McCloud river at Wyntoon, etc. From 1914 to date, he has been consulting engineer for the Utica Mining Company, and since 1921 has filled a like position for the State Department of Public Works on water resources investigation. In 1930, he was consulting engineer on the Calaveras River Flood Control Dam, of concrete arch type, and was also consulting engineer for the Bear Gulch Water Company for its earth dam. From 1928, he has been the engineer member of the advisory committee to the Bureau of Building Inspection in the city of San Francisco. These numerous connections listed in the above paragraphs may give one a clear conception of the important work done by Mr. Huber in the engineering field, and of his reputation as an authority on the scientific matters which come within the bounds of his profession. He has been given national recognition likewise, and has been an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He served as a director of this organization, representing the membership of northern California on the National Board of Direction in 1922-24. He was vice president, representing the entire western membership in 1926-27. He belongs to the American Concrete Institute; the Seismological Society of America; the American Meteorological Society; the Sierra Club, of which he has been a director since 1915; and was president for the term of 1925-26; the American Alpine Club; the Engineers’ Club of San Francisco; Sigma Xi and Tau Beta Pi, honorary and scholarship fraternities; and the Phi Sigma Kappa collegiate fraternity.
In Woodland, California, June 26, 1906, Mr. Huber was married to Miss Daisymay Campbell, who was born in New London, Connecticut, a daughter of the late John and Effie (Norton) Campbell. Mr. and Mrs. Huber reside at 3555 Clay street in San Francisco, and Mr. Huber maintains his local office at No. 1 Montgomery street. The latter’s success in his profession has been attained by hard work and ability. He earned his education, and has given practically all of his time since to engineering. Mountain climbing and photography have, however, offered fine diversion to him, and he is enthusiastic about both of these pleasures. He is a republican in politics, and has consistently manifested real public-spirited cooperation in the city of his birth.
Transcribed by: Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.
Source: Byington, Lewis Francis, “History of San Francisco 3 Vols”, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1931. Vol. 2 Pages 276-281.
© 2007 Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.
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