T. J. Arnold

Thomas Jefferson Arnold (d.1878) was a city engineer in San Francisco during the 1870s. His formal title was Engineer of the Sea Wall. He is behind a number of important maps for large infrastructural projects such as this one, but is perhaps better known for designing the so-called Sea Wall of San Francisco. Plans and drawings of his original structure still exist in the archives, but the wall was only begun in earnest in 1878, the same year Arnold died. To this day, the protective barrier that Arnold visualized constitutes both the foundation for the Embarcadero Roadway, as well as a protective dyke that shields downtown San Francisco from flooding.

In many ways, Arnold represents the fuzzy line between civil servant and private entrepreneur. Prior to producing his famous San Francisco Bay Tide Lands map as a city engineer for San Francisco, Arnold had worked as chief engineer for the Southern Pacific Railroad, among other things contributing to an important mapping of the railroad, drawn up by G.F. Allardt and published in 1868 (see https://lccn.loc.gov/2002630524).

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