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George Mairs Bull papers

Identifier: COU:262

Scope and Contents

This collection ranges from the Civil War era with the diary of Bull’s father, Rice C. Bull on the Chancellorville Campaign, 1860s sheet music, and other items. George Bull items cover from 1907-1957 and include maps, survey books, and reports on many of the water projects he worked on in Colorado and other states. There are also a number of photographs consisting mostly of Bull family and friends from Rising Sun, Indiana circa 1880-1920, as well as, Bull family genealogy. Other subjects include Public Works Administration (PWA) projects and reports, the Denver Water Board, and Civil Engineering reports.


  • Creation: 1897 - 1945

Biographical Note

George M. Bull was born in Troy, New York, on March 15, 1873 to Rice C. Bull and Catherine Johnson Bull. . On June 1, 1910 he married Sara E. Baker, they became permanent residents of Denver. Their home was located at 3910 Perry Street.

George Bull was educated in Troy public schools. He received a degree in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1897, and Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines (1938) and University of Colorado (1940). He was a member of the Rensselaer Society of Engineers, the Colorado Society of Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Mr. Bull was first employed as Assistant Engineer on contract work reconstructing the original Erie Canal (1897-1898). He enlisted in the 1st Volunteer Engineers and served in Puerto Rico during the Spanish American War. Following the war he was employed by the Chicago Northwestern Railway Company and located the foundation for the Boone Viaduct across the Des Moines River (1899-1900).

Mr. Bull returned to Troy, New York in 1900. He was Deputy City Engineer from 1900-1903 in charge of constructing and maintaining municipal structures. He later became Principal Assistant Engineer on the reconstruction of a waterworks system for the city of Troy. Upon completion of this work he was appointed Resident Engineer in the office of the New York State Barge Canal from 1903-1906. He was in charge of hydraulic studies and later designed much of the work for the Champlain Diversion Project.

He made surveys of proposed projects in Mexico and the western part of the United States for J. G. White and Company from 1906-1909. In 1909 he worked as an engineer for Arnold Company of Chicago. Later in Denver, Colorado he was involved in the construction of irrigation projects around the state. He established an office as a consulting engineer after the completion of this work and reported on securities for bankers, made studies of water supplies and the design and construction of hydraulic structures (1910-1918).

In 1918, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant Commander in the Civil Engineering Corps Naval Reserve. He was in charge of the construction projects for the Public Works Dept at the Philadelphia Navy Yard during the war. He completed this work in 1920 but remained in the Naval Reserve until 1922.

He returned to Colorado where he again established an office as a consulting engineer. During this time he was engaged by the City of Denver to make an extensive study of the need and location of future water supply systems to be built by the city. A study of the trans-mountain diversion of the headwaters of the Colorado River was later implemented by the City of Denver in cooperation with the Public Works Administration

Upon the organization of the Public Works Administration he was appointed State Engineer (1933) and later State Director (1935-1937). One source indicates that Mr. Bull developed the P.W. A. program for Colorado (1920-1933). He was appointed Regional Director of the Fifth Region of the P.W. A. (1937-1940) which was comprised of 7 Southwestern states. These states were Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Mr. Bull briefly returned to private practice in 1940. He returned to service with the Office of Production Management (1941), as a field representative in the Southwestern states. He was later appointed Regional Director P.W.A. Defense Construction Program in the Rocky Mountain States.

The Office of Price Administration was established in 1942 to prevent war time inflation and rationing of most commodities. Mr. Bull was appointed to the Office of Price Administration as Colorado State Director (1943-1945).

He returned to private practice as a consulting engineer in 1945.


21 linear feet (18 boxes)

Language of Materials



George Bull worked on as a Civil Engineering consultant from 1905-1945. The George Bull Papers contain material on the Bull family, including photographs and the Civil War diary of Rice C. Bull (George Bull’s father). Also in the collection are maps, charts, and surveys of water projects in Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota, Montana, Oregon, and Texas. He was involved in such projects as the Moffat Tunnel, the Cucharas Dam, and Stanley Lake Reservoir. In 1937 Bull was appointed Regional Director of the Public Works Administration for 5th District.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States