Seattle.gov Home Page
Seattle.gov This Department
Seattle City Clerk's Home Page Seattle City Clerk's Home Page Seattle City Clerk's About Us Page Seattle City Clerk's Contact Us Page
Online Information Resources
Search Collections Exhibits and Education Seattle Facts About the Archives

Seattle Facts
Brief History of Seattle
City Officials
Historical Election Results
Ballot Initiatives
City Symbols
Quick Information

City Engineer

The position of City Engineer is first mentioned in the City Charter in 1873. The Engineer was elected by the Common Council. Two years later, the designation "Engineer" was replaced by the office of the Surveyor, also elected by the Common Council. The title was dropped from the City Charter by amendment in 1877, only to be reinstated by another amendment in 1883.

1873-1875 W. B. Hall Surveyor
8/1875-7/1876 R. L. Thorne  
7/1876-7/1878 Phillip G. Eastwick Eastwick is credited with establishing the earliest datum point in Seattle.
7/1878-8/1879 M. J. Costello  
8/1879-7/1882 F. H. Whitworth  
7/1882-8/1883 Joseph M. Snow  
8/1883-8/1886 Reginald H. Thomson  
8/1886-7/1888 Albro Gardner  
7/1888-8/1890 John G. Scurry  
8/1890-11/1890 M. Stixrud Also served as Fire Warden. Resigned in 1881 when elected King County Sheriff.

The Freeholders City Charter of 1890 provided for a City Engineer to be appointed by the Board of Public Works and to serve at the pleasure of the Board.

11/1890-5/1892 Albro Gardner Gardner is considered Seattle's first City Engineer.
5/1892-1896 Reginald H. Thomson The Board of Public Works removed Thomson in Feb. 1894, whereupon Mayor Ronald removed two members of the Board and Thomson was reinstated.

The new Freeholders City Charter of 1896 provided that the City Engineer be appointed by the Mayor to serve a term of three years.

1896-1911 Reginald H. Thomson Thomson retired due to poor health.
11/1911-7/1922 Arthur H. Dimock Dimock was appointed to serve out Thomson's term and was subsequently appointed City Engineer.
7/1922-1/1927 James D. Blackwell  
2/1927-6/1928 W. Chester Morse  
6/1928-7/1930 William D. Barkhuff Barkhuff died while serving as Engineer.
8/1930-7/1931 Reginald H. Thomson Thomson was appointed to serve out Barkhuff's term.
7/1931-7/1932 Daniel W. McMorris  
7/1932-6/1934 Melvin O. Syliaasen  
6/1934-8/1934 Oscar A. Piper Acting City Engineer.
8/1934-6/1936 Thomas R. Beeman  
6/1936 Oscar A. Piper Acting City Engineer.
6/1936-3/1938 Nathaniel A. Carle  
5/1938-12/1947 Charles L. Wartelle Wartelle resigned due to ill health.
1/1948-5/1948 C. G. Will Acting City Engineer pending appointment and confirmation of Ralph W. Finke.
5/1948-12/1952 Ralph W. Finke Resigned Nov. 28, 1952.
12/1952-2/1953 R. R. Hubbard Acting City Engineer.
2/1953-2/1957 William F. Parker Was appointed Dec. 24, 1952 but did not take office until Feb. 2, 1953 due to Navy service.
2/1957-4/1971 Roy W. Morse Morse resigned his position as Superintendent of Water to become City Engineer. Roy was the son of Chester Morse.
5/1971-5/1974 Robert J. Gulino  
5/1974-5/1981 Paul A. Wiatrak  
5/1981-3/1986 Eugene Avery  
4/1986-10/1994 Gary Zarker Zarker was appointed interim Director of Engineering and later appointed Director. He was the first non-engineer to serve as director of the department.
11/1994-1997 John Okamoto  

The Engineering Department was abolished in 1997; its functions were divided between Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle Transportation.