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This profile was last updated on 1/1/87  and contains information from public web pages.

Frank Van Vleck

Wrong Frank Van Vleck?

Employment History

  • Professor of Mechanical Engineering
    Cornell University
  • Chief Engineer
    Los Angeles Cable Road
  • Designer


  • Stevens Institute of Technology
Web References
Journal of San Diego History, 1 Jan 1987 [cached]
Probably through a connection with Frank Van Vleck, a former professor of engineering at Cornell, who built the cable road in Los Angeles and engineered the cable road in San Diego, Hebbard received employment as a bona fide architect to build the powerhouse for this system.
Active operations did not begin, however, until Frank Van Vleck arrived in August 1889. Van Vleck, a graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology was a professor of mechanical engineering at Cornell University. He was the chief engineer for the Los Angeles Cable Road completed in 1887 and it was his success there that attracted the attention of San Diegans. See the San Diego Union, June 8, 1890, pages 1-2, for further details. Perhaps Hebbard's work in Los Angeles and his attendance at Cornell linked these two men to the cable road in San Diego.
San Diego's Early Streetcars | San Diego History Center [cached]
Frank Van Vleck (the man at the left, leaning with one foot up, in this photo) was the designer.
Transit in San Diego: ASCE Anniversary Project | San Diego History Center [cached]
Frank Van Vleck, the company's chief engineer, selected a 3-foot-6-inch gauge for the track and used cast iron cable yokes on four-foot centers rather than conventional wooden ties.
Van Vleck and Fisher designed the cable cars, 12 double-truck cars that deposited riders at Park and Adams and the Bluffs, a popular recreation area overlooking Mission Valley that was later called Mission Cliff Gardens.
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