Local Stories Attract Attention – Showcasing Historic Landmarks

November 18, 2011

                                        Photo by: Bernie Dennis

For more than forty years, ASCE has officially conferred recognition on civil engineering achievements which have played a unique role in the development of the United States and the world as Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks.  ASCE President Andy Herrmann was recently in Maryland to help rededicate the Thomas Viaduct Railroad Bridge over the Patapsco River.

The Thomas Viaduct Bridge joined the ranks of 212 landmarks in the United States and 48 international landmarks to achieve historic status. These prominent sites illustrate the creativity and innovative spirit of civil engineers.  Almost always performed under challenging conditions, each of these engineering feats represents the achievement of what was once considered an impossible dream.

Landmarks are a great way to promote the civil engineering profession and our achievements in the community. The next time your section or branch is looking for a media opportunity, capitalize on your local landmarks.  Do some research first and find out what the back story was for that structure.  Why was it built?  What did it mean to the community?  Who was the civil engineer involved? When was it first dedicated?  Is there an anniversary date coming up soon?  If it isn’t an historic landmark, should it be? 

If you want to pursue historic status, a first step would be to contact your local historical society.  These groups rely on publicity to raise funds for their work. Several weeks out from the event, contact your local newspaper city or metro desk, or if the dedication event is in a small town, call the editor of the local newspaper.  Most newspapers love to be partners on events like these.

Several days before the dedication, send a notice out to local radio stations, television stations and newspapers advising them of the event.  Include the date, time, location and, just as importantly, who will be speaking at the dedication.  If you need assistance with any of your preparations, contact Tracy Withrow, director of state media relations at twithrow@asce.org.  She’ll be glad to help you get more mileage out of your story.  Good luck!

Jim Jennings
Senior Manager, External Communications

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