SAHARA Highlights: Infrastructure

by Jacqueline Spafford and Mark Hinchman, SAHARA Co-Editors | May 13, 2021

At the time of writing, the historic infrastructure plan before the United States Congress is still struggling for widespread support. Infrastructure spending is often too abstract for many voters, and too invisible in its results for many politicians. Such a large investment in jobs, transportation, health and safety, education and energy is a frustratingly hard sell. This month’s Highlights remind us of some of the services that have been created and supported through government infrastructure spending. Thank you to all SAHARA contributors, as always.

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Arkansas-Louisiana Gas Company Building
Arkansas-Louisiana Gas Company Building, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, 1950. Photograph by Dell Upton 1997.


Freeway Park, Seattle
Lawrence Halprin & Associates, Freeway Park, Seattle, Washington, 1972–76. One of the first “highway lidding” projects, this five-acre park overlooks the financial center and crosses over I-5. Photography by Dianne Harris.


Lowell Canal System
James Bicheno Francis and Kirk Boott, engineers, Lowell Canal System, view looking upstream at the guard locks complex, Lowell, Massachusetts, 1822-1902, restored 1990s. Photograph by Patrick Malone, 2008.


John Ferraro Building
Albert C. Martin, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (John Ferraro Building), Los Angeles, California, 1963–64. Photograph by Dell Upton, 2014.


Eads Bridge, Saint Louis
James Buchanan Eads and the Keystone Bridge Company, Eads Bridge, Saint Louis (crossing the Mississippi River), Missouri, 1868–74. Photograph by Dell Upton, 1989.


Huntersville Rest Area
Huntersville Rest Area, I-80 near Vallejo, California, c.1965. Photograph by Dell Upton, 2002.


University of Minnesota Southeast Steam Plant and Twin City Rapid Transit Company Power Plant
Sargent and Lundy (architectural firm), and Foster W. Dunwiddle (renovation), University of Minnesota Southeast Steam Plant and Twin City Rapid Transit Company Power Plant, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1903, renovated 2004. Photograph by Dell Upton, 2016.


 Metropolitan Area Express, Green Line car
Metropolitan Area Express, Green Line car, Portland, Oregon, 1986–present. Photograph by Dell Upton, 2012.


interchange of I-95 and 95
The interchange of I-95 and 95, looking toward the harbor of Providence, Rhode Island. Completed in 1964, this formation is no more as the I-95 was relocated 2007–09. Photograph by Patrick Malone, c.1990.


irrigation ditch
Irrigation ditch, Ephraim, Utah, c.1850. Irrigation ditches were one form of water control borrowed from Native Americans in the 19th century, and are still used today. Photograph by Dell Upton, 2004.


Hoover Dam intake tower and bridge
John L Savage, Frank Crowe, Gordon Bernie Kaufmann, et al, Hoover Dam, intake tower and bridge, Boulder City, Nevada, dedicated 1935. This Works Project Administration endeavour, rated one of American’s Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders, is a superb example of infrastructure investment. Photograph by Dell Upton, 2002.

Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is an international nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs.

SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610