Biography of M. M. O'Shaughnessy
San Francisco, CA Biographies





M. M. O'SHAUGHNESSY
After a long and brilliant career in civil engineering, M. M. O'Shaughnessy now stands in the front rank of his profession, and holds the responsible position of engineer of the city and county of San Francisco, California.

Mr. O'Shaughnessy was born in County Limerick, Ireland, May 28, 1864, and is a son of Patrick and Margaret (O'Donnell) O'Shaughnessy. In Ireland he received his technical education. He attended Queen's College in Cork; Queen's College in Galway; and graduated in engineering with honors at the Royal University in Dublin in 1884. In the year 1885, he came to the United States, and in 1886-87 was an assistant engineer with the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. Subsequently he did general engineering on town sites and water problems, and in 1893-94 was chief engineer for the California Midwinter International Exposition in San Francisco. In 1895-96, he was chief engineer for the Mountain Copper Company, and in 1897 and 1898 he practiced civil engineering in San Francisco. From 1899 until 1906, he was in Hawaii as a construction hydraulic engineer for sugar plantations, and then in 1907 he resumed the practice of his profession in California, and also held the position of chief engineer of the Southern California Mountain Water Company. In September, 1912, he was appointed city engineer of San Francisco. He was the builder of the Hetch Hetchy water and power supply plant; the Eleanor dam; the Priest dam and acqueduct; the O'Shaughnessy dam; the Stockton street tunnel; the Twin Peaks tunnel ; the Sunset tunnel; the San Francisco Municipal Railways; and was consulting engineer for Detroit, Seattle, Portland, and San Diego.

During the past seventeen years, many boulevards have been constructed upon plans prepared by Mr. O'Shaughnessy. The Marina boulevard, forty nine hundred feet long, from Laguna street to the Presidio, is one, and this has been extended through the Presidio, with a bridge over Lobos creek, across Lincoln park to the Spreckels Memorial Museum. Another is the great highway from the Cliff House to Sloat boulevard. The most characteristic boulevard is that circling the crest of the Twin Peaks, at an elevation of eight hundred and twenty five feet above sea level. Among other improvements are the Nineteenth street extension; the Junipero Serra boulevard widening and extension to the county line, with a new artery leading south into San Mateo county, and the Alemany boulevard along the old Ocean Shore Railroad right of way. The track of this railroad having been abandoned, the city purchased the remnant of the company's right of way for sixty thousand dollars. An additional strip of forty feet has been purchased, and the highway is now in operation from Bay Shore highway to join the Junipero Serra boulevard, being about four miles in length. Van Ness avenue had been extended in a direct line to Howard street. Another desirable extension is from the Panhandle easterly from Baker street to Scott street, and then southeasterly to Duboce avenue and into Market street. Mr. O'Shaughnessy has written authoritatively upon a number of technical subjects. He is the author of articles on irrigation in Hawaii among other topics of interest to the profession. He has been accorded notable honors for his achievements, among them having been the award in 1913 by the American Society of Civil Engineers of the James Laurie prize for building the Morena dam in San Diego. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Northeastern Water Works Association, and the American Water Works Association.

On October 21, 1890, Mr. O'Shaughnessy was married to Mary Spottiswood, of San Francisco. In civic and club affairs of San Francisco, Mr. O'Shaughnessy has maintained a real interest. He belongs to the Elks Club, the University Club, and the Presidio Club. To the city, he has been one of the most valuable officers ever to serve in behalf of the people. He has a profound knowledge of his profession, and has the executive ability to put his thoughts into definite action, a necessity to keep step with the rapid growth of the city and the constant extension of its territory. He holds the sincere regard and respect of his friends, his employes, his fellow officials, and all who have come in contact with him.

From:
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


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