RICE, WALTER PERCIVAL (2 Sept. 1855-21 Aug. 1941) exerted a formative influence on Cleveland's water, harbor, and sewage systems during his career as a civil engineer. A native Clevelander, he was the son of Percival and Mary Cutter Rice and the grandson of educator HARVEY RICE. Upon graduating from Lehigh University in 1876, he joined the office of the Cleveland city engineer, succeeding into that position himself from 1887-90 and 1893-5. During his tenure Rice made a study of Lake Erie currents in order to determine the best locations for the city's water intake and sewage outfall. He also designed a unique bridge over the CUYAHOGA RIVER at Columbus Ave., consisting of 2 revolving spans operated by electricity and compressed air. Built in 1895, it was dismantled in 1940.

He formed the Walter P. Rice Engineering Co. in 1895, serving until his retirement in 1930 as a consulting engineer specializing in foundation construction and shore protection. Among the projects he supervised was construction of a sewage purification plant for EAST CLEVELAND. As Cleveland director of public works from 1899-1901, he instituted the idea of white wings to clean city streets. Rice was a founding member in 1880 of the CLEVELAND ENGINEERING SOCIETY and its president in 1892-3. In retirement he served 10 years as president of the EARLY SETTLERS ASS'N. OF THE WESTERN RESERVE. In 1903 he had married Margaret Barteau of St. Paul, Minn., who survived him. He died in Cleveland and was buried at LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.

Article Categories