Summer Surveys: Scholastic Amusements in Civil Engineering



Afternoon Amusements

The summer survey was "designed to give students intimate contact with their fellows" and "provided an opportunity for a mixture of work and play". The survey groups were divided into sections of five or six students with one student appointed as the captain. The students typically scoped out the town for girls, bars and entertainment. "These merry crews called themselves ‘Surveyors’. The incongruity of such a title is quite apparent when we find that their sole aim was to have a good time and to overwhelm local society with their unequalled gallantry. They descended in force on the one tavern available and took it for their own." When rural villages did not offer any taverns or entertainments, the students found ways to amuse themselves. Song fests, baseball and late night poker games were among the activities that filled their free time. Mischief and late night activities sometimes acquainted the visitors with the local sheriff, but no serious consequences were recorded. "The Police Force, after being assured that we were not going to wipe Cooperstown off the map, but simply trying to place it on the map, became very amicable, accompanied us back and let us in to our hotel." [1914 Transit]

Click on the thumbnail for a larger view of the photograph.


The 1904 topographical survey team from RPI.

Students pose for a photograph in a field in Warrensburg, 1919.

A student milks a cow in a field near Warrensburg, 1919.

A stage coach overflowing with aspiring civil engineers, undated.

These cartoon maps provide a humorous pictoral description of the 1923 summer survey in Poultney, Vermont. [1925 Transit]


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