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Evans, A. Walton White (1817-1886)

Name: Evans, A. Walton White (1817-1886)
Fuller Form: Anthony Walton White Evans

Historical Note:

Anthony Walton White Evans was born in New Brunswick, NJ October 31, 1817, the son of Thomas M. Evans and Eliza M. White. His maternal grandfather was Brigadier General Anthony Walton White, a Revolutionary War veteran. Walton Evans (he dropped the Anthony early in life) attended local schools before entering the Rensselaer Institute in 1834.

Leaving the Institute in October 1836, he served as an assistant engineer on the Erie Canal. In 1845 he became an assistant to Allan Campbell in the construction of the New York and Harlem Railroad extension to Albany. The following year he became the resident engineer on the job but resigned in 1850 to join Campbell in building the Copiapo Railroad in Chile. Evans completed the road in 1853 after Campbell's departure. Evans served as Chief Engineer for the construction of the Arica and Tacna Railroad in Peru from 1853 to 1856.

Evans returned to the United States and married Anna Zimmerman on June 24, 1856. The Southern Railroad. That line, extending fifty miles south of Santiago, was finished in 1860. Evans gained a reputation for the bridges he designed to cross the numerous swift streams crossed by the railroad.

After his return to New York in 1860 Evans made extensive studies of public works and opened an office as a consulting engineer. He designed the Varrugas Viaduct on the Luna & Oroya Railroad and acted as agent for a number of foreign railways to purchase equipment and recruit staff. In his railroad work he championed the use of American locomotives and cars which he believed superior to those built elsewhere. In 1862-1864 he served as engineer of the defenses of the port of New York and in the latter year became President of the United States Petroleum Company. He also was President of the Spuyten Duyvil Rolling Mill.

Very interested in the projected inter-oceanic canal through Central America, he participated in the 1879 International Congress on the Canal at Paris. Evans collected books, works of art, and artifacts at his estate, Sans Souci, in New Rochelle, NY. He gave extensive collections to the Smithsonian Institution before his death on November 28, 1886.

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