Civil Engineering – Construction Buildings, Dams, Railroads, Roads

We have many free online books about civil engineering and construction. Engineering books on building construction, roads, dams, bridges, sanitation systems, canal building. Also a big collection of books on railroads.

Civil Engineering, Construction

Hint: When a book you want to borrow at Internet Archive is already checked out, go to the Internet Archive’s ‘Search’ box, check “Search Metadata”, and search for the book’s title. Sometimes they have two or more copies.

Century Past Library


Civil Engineering, Construction

Civil Engineering Collection

About 240 free online books at Internet Archive was the result of a search for “Civil Engineering”. There are books about construction of dams, drainage systems, hazardous wastes, famous engineering projects, the Panama Canal, construction materials, the Transcontinental Railroad, and other topics.

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Construction Collection

Nearly 4,500 free online books at Internet Archive that is the search result for “Construction”. Some of the topics here are construction methods and materials, understanding construction drawings and blueprints, managing construction projections, home-building, or residential construction, carpentry, estimating, and careers in the building trades.

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House Construction Collection

About 200 books from the Internet Archive free online on the subject of House Construction.

Building Collection

About 800 books from the Internet Archive, free online on the subject of Building.

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Railroads Collection

About 1,100 free books at Internet Archive includes all aspects of railroads. Topics include railroad history and construction, the first Transcontinental railroad, model railroading, tourist railroads, and railroads in various U.S. regions and in other countries.

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The Story of the First Trans-continental Railroad …

The Story of the First Trans-continental Railroad Book Cover

Bailey, William Francis, comp.
Bailey 1906        Dewey Dec.    385

(title continued) ” …Its Projectors, Construction and History”

The story of the Union Pacific Railroad. Chapter headings are: 1. The Project and its Projectors, 2. The Proposition in Congress, 3. Mostly Financial, 4. Commencement of the Work, 5. Progress Made, 6. Indian Troubles during Construction, 7. The Builders, 8. Completion of the Line, 9. The Kansas Division (Kansas Pacific Ry), 10. The Denver-Cheyenne Line (Denver Pacific R.R.), 11. History of the Line since its Completion, 12. The Central Pacific Railroad, Appendix

Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad

Empire Express, Building the First Transcontinental Railroad Book Cover

Bain, David Haward
Viking 1999        Dewey Dec.    385

“Bain knits together excellent storytelling and exhaustive research in a rich contextual tale of vision, ambition, and, ultimately, political and personal corruption.” -Libr J

See our collections of books on Engineering and Science & Technology

Municipal Engineering and Sanitation

Baker, M. N.
Macmillan 1902        Dewey Dec.    628

Practical, authoritative discussion of problems of transportation, communication, water, lighting, slaughter houses, sewage, street cleaning, smoke, noise, etc. public policy and finance.
Author’s wide practical experience furnishes many tangible examples.
– – A.L.A. Catalog 1904

Wedding of the Waters: The Erie Canal and the Making of a Great Nation

Wedding of the Waters, The Erie Canal Book Cover

Bernstein, Peter L.
Norton 2005        Dewey Dec.    386

The author discusses the building of the Erie Canal and how, in his opinion, it changed the course of American history. This “is an important window into a vital and too often neglected period in the American past.” -Foreign Affairs

The Tower and the Bridge: The New Art of Structural Engineering

Billington, David P.
Princeton University 1985        Dewey Dec.    624

Steel Beams & Iron Men

Cherry, Mike
Four Winds 1980        Dewey Dec.    624

An ironworker describes his experiences erecting steel frames of large structures such as skyscrapers and industrial plants in New York City and a California desert.

Railroad Construction

Crandall, Charles Lee and Barnes, Fred Asa
NY: McGraw-Hill 1913        Dewey Dec.    625.1

Selected Articles about the History of Science & Technology

How We Built the Union Pacific Railway

How We Built the Union Pacific Railway Book Cover

Dodge, Grenville M. (Major General)
Washington: GPO 1910        Dewey Dec.    385

The author was Chief Engineer, Union Pacific Railway, 1866-1870.

Building Hoover Dam: an oral history of the Great Depression

Dunar, Andrew J. and McBride, Dennis
University of Nevada 2001        Dewey Dec.    627

Topics: Dams, Construction workers, Oral history

Municipal and Rural Sanitation

Ehlers, Victor Marcus
McGraw Hill 1950        Dewey Dec.    628

Topics: Public Health, Engbooks, Sanitary Engineering, Sanitation, Sanitation, Sanitary engineering, Public health, Rural health

The Art of Roadmaking

Frost, Harwood
McGraw-Hill 1910        Dewey Dec.    625.7

Subtitle: “Treating of the various problems and operations in the construction and maintenance of roads, streets, and pavements written in non-technical language, suitable for the general reader; with an extensive bibliography and a descriptive list of reliable current books and pamphlets on these subjects”.
“Compilation from authoritative sources, treating the problems of roadmaking and road maintenance in language as untechnical as the nature of the subject permits.” – A.L.A. Catalog 1904-1911

Road Construction

Genat, Robert
Motorbooks International 1995        Dewey Dec.    625.7

Road machinery.

Harbours and Docks

– Volume 2

Harcourt, Leveson Francis V.
Clarendon 1885        Dewey Dec.    627

Subtitle: “their physical features, history, construction equipment, and maintenance, with statistics as to their commercial development”.
Volume 1 – Text
Volume 2 – Plates (list of contents, but no illustrations) – A.L.A. Catalog 1904

A Treatise on Rivers and Canals relating to the Control and Improvement of Rivers and the Design, Construction, and Development of Canals

– Volume 2

Harcourt, Leveson Francis V.
Clarendon 1882        Dewey Dec.    627

The flow, control and improvement of rivers and the design, construction and development of canals both for navigation and irrigation, with statistics of the traffic on inland waterways. – A.L.A. Catalog 1904
Volume 1 – Text
Volume 2 – Plates

The Civil Engineer’s Handbook

International Correspondence Schools
International Textbook 1913        Dewey Dec.    624

Subtitle: “A convenient reference book for chainmen, rodmen, transitmen, levelers, surveyors, as well as draftsmen, computers, and railroad, municipal, and hydraulic engineers”. Engbooks

Parting the Desert: The Creation of the Suez Canal

Parting the Desert, The Creation of the Suez Canal Book Cover

Karabell, Zachary
Knopf 2003        Dewey Dec.    386

Karabell “has written a thorough and entertaining work. . . . The author is quite comfortable discussing any issue, period, or personality in the canal’s history, and many of the references in his 150-title bibliography are from primary sources. This is simply an excellent book.” -Libr J

The Dam Builders

Kelly, James E. and Park, William R.
Addison-Wesley 1977        Dewey Dec.    627

Traces each step in the design and construction of earthfill and masonry dams and describes the equipment and machinery used.

Over 100 magazines free and online, from the early 1800s to today, at Read Old Magazines Online

Divided Highways: building the interstate highways, transforming American life

Lewis, Tom
Viking 1997        Dewey Dec.    625.7

Topics: Roads, Transportation, Automotive


Macaulay, David
Houghton Mifflin 1976        Dewey Dec.    624

Text and drawings describe the subways, sewers, building foundations, telephone and power systems, columns, cables, pipes, tunnels, and other underground elements of a large modern city.

Engineering Work in Towns and Cities

McCullough, Ernest
Clark 1908        Dewey Dec.    628

Practical advice on pavements, drainage, water supply, buildings, contracts, records, office systems, etc., for city officials without technical training and engineers inexperienced in municipal works.
– – A.L.A. Catalog 1904-1911

American Civil Engineers’ Pocket Book

Merriman, Mansfield, ed.
Wiley 1911        Dewey Dec.    624

Of composite authorship, the different sections being furnished by leading American authorities in their respective subjects.
– – A.L.A.Catalog 1904-1911

Engineers of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America

Petroski, Henry
Knopf 1995        Dewey Dec.    624

“The great era of American bridge building – which from the 1870s through the 1930s gave us such landmarks as the Eads Bridge across the Mississippi, the Hell Gate Bridge across the East River, the George Washington Bridge across the Hudson, and the Golden Gate Bridge at the mouth of San Francisco Bay – called for a special breed of engineer: equal parts dreamer, inventor, and entrepreneur. Since the building of any bridge is necessarily a collaborative effort, engineers of dissimilar philosophies and all-too-similar egos were thrown together on project after project, making for an ongoing, interwoven human and technological drama.”–Book Jacket

Selected Articles about the History of Cities

Pushing the Limits: New Adventures in Engineering

Petroski, Henry
Vintage 2005        Dewey Dec.    624

Topics: Technology & Industrial Arts, Engbooks, Science/Mathematics, Engineering (General), Technology, Architecture, Applied Sciences, Engineering – General, Public, Commercial, or Industrial Buildings, Architecture / Public, Commercial, or Industrial Buildings, History – General, Engineering

American Highways

Shaler, Nathaniel S.
Century 1896        Dewey Dec.    625.7

Subtitle: “A popular account of their conditions and of the means by which they may be bettered”.
List of Important works on highway construction, p. 292-93.
“Road materials, methods of construction and administration, machinery, cost, effects of climate and topography, importance of specific training and education in highway engineering, etc.” – A.L.A. Catalog 1904

The Railway Builders: A Chronicle of Overland Highways

The Railway Builders, A Chronicle of Overland Highways Book Cover

Skelton, Oscar D.
Toronto: Glasgow, Brook 1920        Dewey Dec.    385

Chapter headings: 1. The Coming of the Railway, 2. Early Travel in Canada, 3. The call for the Railway, 4. The Canadian Beginnings, 5. The Grand Trunk Era, 6. The Intercolonial, 7. The Canadian Pacific – Beginnings, 8. Building the Canadian Pacific , 9. The Era of Amalgamation, 10. The Canadian Northern, 11. The Expansion of the Grand Trunk, 12. Sundry Developments, 13. Some General Questions, Bibliographical Note

Hoover Dam: an American adventure

Stevens, Joseph E.
University of Oklahoma 1988        Dewey Dec.    627

The Transcontinental Railroad

The Transcontinental Railroad Book Cover

Streissguth, Thomas
Lucent 2000        Dewey Dec.    385

Discusses the history of the transcontinental railroad, including the construction of the Central Pacific, Union Pacific, and other related railroads which joined the east and west coasts by meeting at Promontory Point, Utah

Books on Railroad History, Trains

The Young Man and Civil Engineering

Swain, George Fillmore
Macmillan 1922        Dewey Dec.    624

“For the young college man who may be considering civil engineering as his lifework. Discusses the branches of civil engineering, the qualifications necessary or desirable, education, civil engineering as a profession, the outlook for the engineer, etc. Author is [1930] professor of civil engineering, Harvard University.”
– Standard Catalog for Public Libraries: Science and Useful Arts (1931)

Street Pavements and Paving Materials

Tillson, George W.
Wiley 1900        Dewey Dec.    625.7

Subtitle: “A manual of city pavements: the methods and materials of their construction. For the use of students, engineers, and city officials”.
Comprehensive, authoritative review of best current practice. Illustrations.
– – A.L.A. Catalog 1904

The Design and Construction of Dams

Wegmann, Edward
Wiley 1899        Dewey Dec.    627

Subtitle: “including masonry, earth, rock-fill, and timber structures, also the principal types of movable dams.”

Century Past Library