NELSON ANDREW ECKART
Nelson Andrew Eckart, recognized as one of the most competent civil engineers on the Pacific coast, is know general
manager and chief engineer of the San Francisco water department, and is one who combines rare talents in his profession
with high executive ability.
Nelson A. Eckart was born in Virginia City, Nevada, December 8, 1878, and is a son of William R. and Harriette
Louise (Gorham) Eckart. The father was an officer in the United States Navy when he was a young man, and was mustered
out of the service after the Civil war. For many years, he was identified with the Flood, Mackey and O'Brien interests
in Nevada, especially with their mining interests. His office was in San Francisco, and he had much to do in solving
some of the engineering problems of the famous Comstock mine. He was also connected with the building of the cable
street railways in San Francisco and other engineering projects. His death occurred in 1915. His wife, who was
a native of New London, Connecticut, came to San Francisco when she was a young girl. She married Mr. Eckart in
Marysville, California, and by this union became the mother of three sons and one daughter, all of whom survive.
After attending the public schools, Nelson A. Eckart entered the University of California in Berkeley, and in 1899
received the degree of Bachelor of Science, having taken the engineering course. For one year thereafter, he was
employed by the Union Iron Works, and then for three years was resident engineer for the Standard Electric Company
on the construction of the Electra power plant, one of the first long distance transmission power systems in the
state. Next he was with the Westinghouse Company for one year, following which he served as deputy state engineer
for the board of prison directors, in which capacity he had charge of the rehabilitation of San Quentin and Folsom
state prisons. During the subsequent four years, he was resident engineer for the Snow Mountain Water & Power
Company, and then, under John R. Freeman, investigated and reported on the various sources of water supply for
the city of San Francisco. In 1913, Mr. Eckart joined the office force of the city engineer, and had charge of
the construction of the extensions of the municipal railway system to serve the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915.
Then, as resident engineer, he had charge of construction in the field for the Hetch Hetchy project till March,
1920 when he became chief assistant engineer, holding that position till March, 1930. At the latter date he was
appointed to the position of general manager and chief engineer of the San Francisco water department. He is a
member of the American Society of Civil Engineers; the American Institute of Electrical Engineers; and the American
Water Works Association.
On December 26, 1913, in San Francisco, Mr. Eckart was united in marriage to Miss Grace Knowlton, who was born
in this city. To this marriage, three children have been born, namely: Eleanor, William, and Elizabeth. The family
residence is situated at 242 Thirtieth avenue.
Mr. Eckart has given his political support to the republican party, and he is a member of the California Golf Club,
golf being his favorite diversion from the cares of his business life. He has always been favorably regarded as
a representative public spirited citizen of San Francisco, and has made many friends through his business and social
The History of San Francisco, California
Lewis Francis Byington, Supervising Editor
Oscar Lewis, Associate Editor
The S. J. Clark Publishing Company
Chicago-San Francisco 1931
San Francisco, CA
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