Historical Photographs and Images

Office of History Photograph Collections on the USACE Digital Library

(click to go to all photo collections on the UDL)

Men in shabby uniforms building a structure out of logs

Alaska Highway. Scrapbook of the 341st Engineer Regiment

Activities and accomplishments of the 341st Regt. during 1942-43 as it worked on the Alaska Highway between Fort St. John and Fort Nelson in Canada, including road and bridge construction, camp scenes, and off-duty pursuits.

African American soldiers in the forest cutting trees and hauling logs

Alaska Highway. Signal Corps

A sampling of the hundreds of photos by the U.S. Army Signal Corps documenting U.S. Army Engineer construction of the Alaska Highway during World War II.

Troops on a log bridge in a stream

Alaska Highway. Various

A sampling of the hundreds of photos in the collections of the Office of History documenting U.S. Army Engineer construction of the Alaska Highway during World War II.

Crude square wooden building with men standing on its wooden porch

American Civil War

Bridges, fortifications, camps, and engineers during the American Civil War.

Portrait of man with mustache in a suit

American Civil War – Abbot’s Cartes de Visite

Henry L. Abbot, an 1854 West Point graduate, was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers as a topographer. He surveyed the western U.S. and the Mississippi River before participating gallantly in the Civil War. Abbot collected cartes de visite of his friends, colleagues, and 1854 classmates. This collection of Abbot’s includes portraits of several notables, including Custer, Humphreys, Meade, Totten, and Wheeler.

Man standing on runway as an airplane approaches to land

Berlin Airlift. Whitaker Collection

Army Engineer activities during the Berlin Airlift, 1948-49, particularly construction of runways at Tempelhof and Tegel airports and a few scenes of VIPs, facilities, and the European Command (EUCOM). Primarily Signal Corps photos with a few from the U.S. Air Force.

Maynard in uniform and Kennedy in suit at top of a dam

Dams – Greers Ferry

The dedication of Greers Ferry Dam near Heber Springs, Ark., on October 3, 1963, a ceremony attended by President John F. Kennedy and one his last official appearances.

Curved archways in a row on a dam's spillway

Dams – Wilson. Robinson Collection

When built in the 1920s, Wilson Dam was the largest concrete dam in the U.S. and one of the first multipurpose projects undertaken by the Corps. Gilbert A. Robinson, a Corps civilian, served as general foreman for seven years on the dam project, and these photos are part of his collection.

Angled view of the columns of the Lincoln Memorial and construction equipment

DC – Lincoln Memorial

Mostly construction photos of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed and built between 1911 and 1922. Daily management of the memorial project fell to four Army Engineer officers, in their capacity as Officer in Charge of Public Buildings and Grounds, who helped coordinate design efforts and supervised construction.

A line of rowhouses with red tile roofs

Districts – Europe

A small collection of images depicting construction for military communities, primarily in West Germany, 1980s.

Three men in hardhats at a foundation construction site

Districts – Far East

Military construction projects in the Far East District from the 1950s through the 1980s, with a focus on images depicting construction in progress. Activities are mostly in South Korea, with a few in Japan, and several images show district and contractor personnel.

Man on a dock with crane and machinery nearby

Districts - Galveston

Images from between 1910 and 1945 primarily depicting floating plant but also personnel, damaged facilities and shipwrecks, dredging and other projects, and a few scenes from the east coast.
Two men burn a pile of debris

Districts – Jacksonville

Civil works projects in Florida and Puerto Rico and engineer response to Hurricane Hugo in the Caribbean, 1980s.

Red and white sign announcing a Corps of Engineers visitor center

Districts – Los Angeles

A large set of images dated between the 1930s and 1980s, featuring military construction (including that for the Air Force and NASA), flood control and disaster response projects (mostly in California and Arizona), and district staff, events, and exhibits. A few images cover events that primarily concerned other districts, such as Hurricanes Agnes and Frederic, or USACE laboratories.
Two men on sandy earth beneath curved girders overhead

Districts – Middle East

Corps activity in Middle East and Africa by the Transatlantic Division and its Middle East District as well as any of their predecessor organizations – such as the Mediterranean and Middle East Divisions and their districts; the Middle East/Africa Projects Office; and the Transatlantic Programs Center. Notable subjects include Operation Desert Storm and the Africa Civic Action Program, 1980s-1990s.

Man standing under shade canopy with red tower behind him

Districts – Middle East. Cameron Collection

A set of color slides taken by Col. Harry F. Cameron, a USACE engineer who led the Gulf District (1960-62) and the Mediterranean Division (1966-68). The images depict engineer projects and other scenes in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia.
Men on a utility pole structure

Districts – Mobile

A small collection depicting civil works in the district and military and humanitarian construction in Honduras, Panama, and Suriname, 1980s-1990s.

Two large lock and dam gates in an empty lock

Districts – Norfolk

Civil works projects in the Norfolk District during 1930-32, including dredging harbors and rivers; straightening rivers; repair of locks and bridges at Deep Creek, Dismal Swamp, and Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway; and levee-building with machinery. Also pictured: a fire at the Norfolk waterfront, Engineer Department properties (offices, wharves, lockmaster houses, etc.), and a view of the battleship USS Arizona.

River, harbor, small dam near an industrial facility

Districts – Savannah

Navigation projects near Savannah, 1990s.

Dam in foreground, reservoir in background

Districts – Wilmington

Two reservoirs in the district, 1980s.

Angled view of a medium ship alongside a dock

Districts – Honolulu. Memphis. Sacramento.

Some of each district’s floating plant, 1900s-1970s.

Large boat with crane deposits wreckage onto a barge

Emergency Ops – 1944 American Airlines

Recovery operations by members of the Memphis District and the U.S. Coast Guard following the fatal crash of a passenger airliner into the Mississippi River near Memphis in 1944.

Overhead view of downed trees that have crushed heavy construction equipment

Emergency Ops – 1980s Mount St. Helens

In May 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted, killing 57 people and sending massive amounts of debris into the sky and down its slopes. The Corps’ Portland District responded—both in the short term by dredging and clearing rivers and in the long term by building and maintaining structures to control debris and prevent sediment from entering area rivers.
Boats and cranes on icy water lift the tail of an airplane

Emergency Ops - 1982 Air Florida

Activities undertaken by the Baltimore District’s river crew based on the Anacostia River and the 30th Engineer Battalion to assist with search and recovery efforts following the crash of Air Florida Flight 90 into the 14th Street Bridge and the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., in January 1982.

Young man in uniform sitting with a trombone

Engineer Band. Koeber Collection

The U.S. Engineer Band and other bands and musicians associated with Julius Kamper, U.S. Army Engineer, including locations at Willets Point, N.Y., and Washington Barracks, D.C., ca. 1880-1918.

Side view of a small boat on a body of water

Floating Plant by Name

Historical images of Corps of Engineers floating plant (vessels) used in civil works activities across the country in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from small launches and survey boats to large dredges and steamships. (collection in progress)

Men and crane atop large flood control structure with open spillways

Flood Control - Lower Mississippi

In Louisiana: the Bonnet-Carré Spillway in the 1970s and 1980s; the Morganza Spillway construction in 1951-52 and views in the 1970s.

Three men push a large round section of tunnel into place

History Series – Great Depression

Images from the history volume on the Corps and the civil works projects undertaken during the Great Depression of the 1930s as part of the New Deal work relief program, including depictions of canals, dams, flood control, laborers, and governmental and military figures.

Three men in hats building a timber structure below ground

Inter-American Highway

Various aspects of construction of the Inter-American Highway in Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama) and other scenes (schools, stations, public buildings, local citizens) in the early 1940s

Group of men in hats on deck of a boat around a large bell

Navigation - Ohio River Lock 43

Ohio River Lock 43 construction and personnel, ca. 1914-20.

Young man in coveralls in a control room full of dials and switches

Nuclear Power - ANPP Exhibit

Aspects of the Army Nuclear Power Program, 1954-76, led by the Corps of Engineers and the Atomic Energy Commission, including power generators of various types at multiple locations.

Two women kneeling in a plant laboratory with large water-filled tubes

Poster of USACE History

A variety of images depicting the wide scope of USACE activities and people throughout its history—civil works, military construction and combat, exploration, emergency response, recreation, and more. The photos are those used in a printed poster of Corps history.

Woman park ranger in uniform hangs a notice on a board

Recreation and Rangers

Corps of Engineers recreation sites, USACE park rangers, and site visitors from years past; depictions of outdoor activities and facilities.

Several soldiers building a wooden platform across a green field

Vietnam Trip Briefings by OCE Liaison Officer

More than 6000 slides taken by/for the OCE Liaison Officer during trips to the Far East from 1966 to 1972 during the Vietnam War, depicting Army Engineer activities, especially construction of all types, around the country and elsewhere. Some show facilities of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, South Vietnamese armed forces, and other international military units. A few depict scenery and local citizens. (in progress)

View of large rock outcropping and a river in a valley far below

Western Exploration – Abbot’s Stereo Cards

Stereograph views of scenes from the American Southwest, including photos of the 1870s Wheeler Expeditions depicting American Indians in New Mexico and near the Grand Canyon. A few miscellaneous cards illustrate West Point, New Orleans, Sicily, and other places.

Two craggy rock formations with a calm river in between

Wheeler Survey 1870s. O'Sullivan Photographs

Twenty-five of Timothy H. O’Sullivan’s photographs taken during his time on the Lt. Gen. George M. Wheeler Survey (1873) to explore the western United States. In 2014 the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts digitized the prints for public dissemination and conserved the originals for long-term preservation.

Young male soldier in uniform with rifle

World War I - Great War Exhibit

A small selection of images depicting Army Engineers, their activities, and their equipment during World War I excerpted from a historical exhibit on display at USACE Headquarters.

Damaged buildings loom over a bicyclist and a jeep

World War II - Europe. Cameron Collection

Col. H. F. Cameron led the 164th Engineer Battalion in Europe during 1944 and 1945. His color slides from that period include images of cities, towns, and countryside in western Europe, particularly France and Germany. Depicted are local people and refugees, street scenes, and war damage. A few images depict Army Engineers building and repairing bridges or engaged in other war-related activities.
Portrait of a short-haired woman in military uniform and cap

World War II - Persian Gulf Command. Scott Collection

Brig. Gen. Stanley L. Scott served in the Persian Gulf Command during WWII. Based mainly in Iran, he saved photos of the work underway there by the U.S. Army and those that show working conditions and who was stopping by. He also received from Iranian State Railways a set of photos of their facilities.

Four soldiers pose outside a window with a child within peering out

World War II - US, Europe. Bagnulo Collection

A collection of images depicting the training, work, and leisure activities of the 1321st Engineer General Service Regiment during World War II in the U.S. and in western Europe. Col. Aldo H. Bagnulo commanded the African American regiment.

Part of an architectural drawing, rectangular shapes

Architectural Drawings

Engineer and Quartermaster architectural drawings of facilities built for the Army and the Air Force, 1940s-1950s.