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winsor

About this collection

Luther M. Winsor, born in Hebron, Utah on January 21, 1884, spent his whole life working with water, irrigation, and flood control. With his experience and expertise he was appointed to governmental positions on both the state and national level, and he also served as a consultant to private companies. The bulk of his work with irrigation and flood control kept him in Utah, but he also studied and developed water programs in Chile, Iran, Canada, and much of the western United States.

 

His early life in Hebron, Washington County consisted of learning first-hand about irrigation, masonry, and railroad surveying. In 1904 he registered at Utah Agricultural College (now Utah State University) in Logan. From the outset of his education he focused on studying irrigation. For seven years he not only continued his studies in college, but he also gained valuable field experience by working under the State Engineer in Logan measuring water levels in canals and studying water use in crop production through an appointment from the United States Division of Irrigation Investigations. In 1911 he became the first person in Utah to receive a degree in Irrigation Engineering. Winsor later earned a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1926.

 

Winsor held an extensive and varied array of positions, most of which were related to irrigation and flood control. Shortly after he received his bachelor’s degree, Winsor became the first County Agent in the West and served posts in the Uintah Basin and in Colorado, but returned to Utah in 1913 to serve as Irrigation Specialist, a position he held for more than 20 years. It was in this capacity that he assisted in analyzing floods and developed the barrier system of flood control, in which debris is channeled away from floodwaters.

 

Besides assisting in many flood control projects in Utah, in 1918 Winsor was called upon by the American Smelting and Refining Company to increase food production by improving irrigation at the company's copper mine camp in northern Chile. He would also assist the company on future projects in Garfield, Utah and Black Lake, Quebec.

 

The project that Winsor himself deemed most important was his work in Iran under appointment from the President of the United States in the early 1940s. There he served as Director General at the Ministry of Agriculture. Winsor spent almost five years in the Middle East working with irrigation problems.

 

On January 18, 1968 Winsor passed away. His varied career as an irrigation engineer is difficult to summarize. His groundbreaking work set the standard for flood control and irrigation in many areas of the West, especially Utah. He extensively published the results from the many projects he assisted on or developed, much of which is reflected in this collection.

 

The photographs in this collection are mounted on sheets of paper with hand written captions accompanying most of them, and are grouped into related topics as outlined in the finding aid.

 

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