• Science

The Most Amazing Things the Army Corps of Engineers Has Done

List RulesVote up the most remarkable and amazing things built or done by the US Army Corps of Engineers throughout their history.

The military is good for a lot more than blowing things up. What most people don't realize is that winning a war often requires building more structures than you destroy. That's where the Army Corps of Engineers comes in. After all, if you're an army on the move, you're going to want people on your side who can build bridges and roads. What may surprise you, however, is that the biggest Army Corps of Engineers projects didn't happen during wars... but during peacetime.

That's right, the coolest things the Army Corps of Engineers has done don't have much to do with combat. For a long time, they were the only formally trained group of engineers in the country, so they had a hand in almost everything the government built. Many monuments, infrastructure projects, office buildings, and iconic landmarks were overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers - and most people have no clue.

So... what are the most amazing they've done? From the Pentagon to the Panama Canal to the Manhattan Project, the Army Corps of Engineers has a storied past and is behind most of the biggest landmarks and projects in US history.

  • 5

    The Washington Monument

    One of the most recognizable monuments in the country, the 555-foot tall Washington Monument was designed by Robert Mills in honor of George Washington. It was the Army Corps of Engineers, however, that completed the project. Led by Lt. Col. Thomas Casey, they built the monument out of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss. The piece at the top is made from aluminum, which at the time was one of the most valuable metals in the world.

    Agree or disagree?
  • 6

    Great Lakes Restoration Project

    Photo: SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE / Wikimedia Commons

    In an effort to protect the Great Lakes, an endeavor was launched in 2010 to restore the geographic area surrounding them. The plan was to control invasive species, curtail pollution, and restore the health of the ecosystem, which had begun to wane. Costing $2.2 billion, the project has since gone a long way to protecting the Great Lakes from erosion and pollution.

    Agree or disagree?
  • 7

    The Los Angeles River

    In 1938, Los Angeles received unprecedented rain, which led to a massively destructive flood and the warping of the Los Angeles River. To prevent another such flood in the future, the Flood Control Act was passed, which saw the Army Corps of Engineers overseeing a project to widen the channel and add cement to its lining. The project took more than 20 years and rebuilt more than 278 miles of river.

    Agree or disagree?
  • 8

    Bonneville Dam

    Photo: Eric Guinther / Wikimedia Commons

    Part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, the Corps of Engineers designed and built the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, which marks the Oregon/Washington border. Its aims were to improve navigation on the river and provide hydroelectric power to the Pacific Northwest. A second powerhouse was added in 1981 to increase its electric output. In 1987, it was declared a national historic landmark.

    Agree or disagree?