Biography of Charles W. Parks
Rensselaer County, NY Biographies





Parks, Charles Wellman, son of Granville and Elizabeth Augusta Parks, was born at Woburn, Middlesex county, Mass., March 22, 1863. In 1879 lie was graduated from the Woburn High School and entered the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, from which he was graduated in 1884. At the end of the second year at the R. P. I. he spent one year engaged in engineering work in the West, a part of the time as assistant on the United States survey of the Missouri River in the neighborhood of Omaha, Neb., and the rest of the time as assistant on the survey of the Arkansas Narrow Guage Railroad between Van Buren, Arkansas, and Joplin, Mo. Returning to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in September, 1882, he remained there until April, 1884, when he left to take charge of surveys for the Denver, Memphis and Atlantic Railroad between Baxter Springs and Larned, Kan. After completing the survey of this road he was employed by the Burlington and Missouri Railroad in Nebraska to make surveys in Colorado for a line across the mountain range to join Bowider Park and Middle Park. In 1885 Mr. Parks became assistant to the director of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and in 1886 was made professor pro tem, in physics in that institution, which position he held until 1892. During the early years of this period he acted as electrical engineer for the Electric Manufacturing Cornpany of Troy. In 1888 he was appointed United States superintendent of the Liberal Arts Group at the Paris Exposition of 1889. The Educational Exhibit was collected and installed by him. He served as a member of the International Jury of Awards and was assigned to duty in one of the classes of Education. At the close of this exposition he received the decoration of Officier de I Indtruction Publique. During the years 1892-93 he had charge of the preparation and exhibition of the display made by the United States Bureau of Education at the Columbian Exposition. The principal features of this exhibit was a model public library of 5,000 volumes. This exhibit, which was prepared with the cooperation of the American Library Association formed, the nucleus of. the Carnegie Library at Allegany, Pa., and several of the smaller towns in the country have since that time received presents of public libraries which are duplicates of this collection. Since the close of the Columbian Exposition Mr. Parks has visited expositions held in Antwerp, Lyons, and Milan, and the Forestry Schools of France, Germany. and S*itzerland, and has prepared reports for the United States Bureau of Education upon the educational features of these exhibitions and schools. In 1896 he received an appointment to the examining division of the United States Patent Office in Washington. Mr. Parks is a member of the Troy Scientific Association and the Rensselaer Society of Engineers of Troy, N. Y.; of the Anthropological Society and the Cosmos Club of Washington, D. C., and of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Mr. Parks's wife, to whom he was married April 15, 1887, is Martha Bessac Parks nee Frear, daughter of the late William and Deborah A. Frear.

From:
Landmarks of Rensselaer County
BY: George Baker Aaderson
Published By: D. Mason & Co. Publishers
Syracuse, NY 1897


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