Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


N. T. (Nathan Thomas) VEATCH

Dates: 1926-1933

Consulting Engineer, Jackson County Road Program

The papers of N. T. Veatch primarily relate to his appointment to the Jackson County Road Program Commission by then Jackson County Presiding Judge Harry S. Truman. In cooperation with General Edward M. Stayton, Veatch was particularly instrumental in designing Jackson County's highway system. The collection consists largely of letters between other engineers and Veatch, as well as correspondence between Veatch and elected officials. The papers document in detail every road that was to be repaired or constructed, the costs involved, the bids for the project, and monthly updates on progress. The collection concludes with a final report by Stayton and Veatch on the roads they repaired and constructed.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: Approximately 600 pages
Access: Open
Copyright: Copyright in the unpublished writings of N. T. Veatch has not been donated to the United States Government, and is presumed to remain with the authors of the documents or their heirs.
Processed by: Philip D. Lagerquist (January 1962); Amanda Baker (2001).


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

1886, August 25Born, Rushville, Illinois
1909Graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering
1912, October 8Married Amarette Weaver
c. 1914-18Supervising engineer for United States Government in construction of Army Camps
1915Started partnership with Ernest B. Black, establishing Black & Veatch Engineers-Architects
1924Received Civil Engineer Degree from the University of Kansas
1924-25 President of the University of Kansas Alumni Association
1926-33 Served as consulting engineer to the Jackson County Road Program Commission
1973, January Retired as managing partner of Black & Veatch
1975, October 8 Died, Kansas City, Missouri

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

Most of the documents in the papers of N.T. Veatch are correspondence between Veatch and his colleagues during the reconstruction and expansion of the Jackson County road system. There are also newspaper articles and reports which further explain the project and the politics surrounding it. Photographs of the decaying roads in Jackson County and of roads made out of different materials are included. The collection is arranged chronologically, beginning in early 1926 and ending with a final report to Jackson County in September 1933.

Increasing population and automobile traffic during the 1920s highlighted the urgent need for expansion and renovation of the roads and highways in Jackson County, Missouri. In 1927, Presiding Judge Harry S. Truman of the Jackson County Court - the chief administrative officer of the county - created a bipartisan commission of engineers to study the road system and recommend improvements. Republican N. T. Veatch and Democrat Edward M. Stayton were appointed to the commission.

Veatch and Stayton investigated the roads, and prepared a summary of the work needed and an estimate of costs. In their "Report on the Jackson County Highway System" they recommended the building of a "complete modern highway system for the entire county." The report included an historical overview, topography, geology, population of each city in the county, and recommendations for individual roads along with cost and the number of miles covered. Stayton and Veatch, with Truman present, first presented the report before the Kansas City Engineer's Club.

The collection includes appeals encouraging citizens to support the May 8, 1928 City Improvement Bond, which passed and provided Jackson County with six and half million dollars to improve and construct roads. There is a copy of contract made between Jackson County and Veatch and Stayton for engineering supervision of the highway system, which allowed the two engineers to be particularly instrumental in designing Jackson County's highway system. The collection details Stayton and Veatch's engineering work and includes: field engineer William M. Spann's reports on actual costs and progress; bridge engineer W.G. Fowler's letters concerning bridge work; requests by citizens for information with responses; low company bids for the contract work; contracts awarded; later reports by Veatch and Stayton to the Jackson County Judges and their requests for additional funding; and information regarding the 1931 bond issue that was approved by voters.

In September 1933, after the Jackson County highway system had been completed, a final report was sent by Veatch and Stayton to the Jackson County Judges. It includes a list of engineers and the work completed as well as the cost of each road. Veatch and Stayton explained that they were able to finish more roads than they originally believed due to the low cost of materials and competition in bidding. There is a break down of the roads built under each bond issue and a chart displaying each dollar spent.

More information about road construction in Jackson County during this period can be found at the Truman Library in the Papers of Harry S. Truman (Papers pertaining to Family, Business, and Personal Affairs; and Papers as Presiding Judge of the Jackson County, Missouri, Court).

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos. Series
1 SUBJECT FILE, 1926 - 1933
Correspondence between N. T. Veatch and others working with the Jackson County Road Program Commission, photographs of current road conditions and roads composed of various materials, newspaper clippings, and two major reports to Jackson County. Arranged chronologically.

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FOLDER TITLE LIST
Box 1
  • N. T. Veatch - Jackson County Road System Correspondence, 1926-1927
  • Report on Jackson County, Missouri Highway System by E. M. Stayton and N. T. Veatch, Consulting Engineers, 1927
  • N. T. Veatch - Jackson County Road System Correspondence, 1928
  • N. T. Veatch - Jackson County Road System Correspondence, 1929-1930
  • N. T. Veatch - Jackson County Road System Correspondence, 1931-1932
  • Final Report of Jackson County Bond Issue Highway Work, September 1933-E. M. Stayton and N. T. Veatch Engineers

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