Cory, Harry T. (1870-) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
Harry Cory was born in Lafayette on May 27, 1870, and entered Purdue in the early 1880's. He graduated with a B.M.E. degree in 1887 and with a B.C.E. in 1889. He continued his studies at Cornell, receiving Master's degrees in C.E. and M.E. in 1893 and 1896, respectively. After graduating from Purdue he was employed as Assistant City Engineer of Lafayette for one year and then as Deputy County Engineer for Tippecanoe County until 1892. He was on the faculty at the University of Missouri and the University of Cincinnati.
Among his various engineering achievements was closing the break in the Colorado River in 1906. The break in the river caused the formation of the Salton Sea, the third largest body of water in the United States. In diverting the river he saved the fertile Imperial Valley and succeeded in accomplishing what five others had failed. The novel, "The Winning of Barbara Worth," by Harold Bell Wright, is based on this situation, and Harry Cory is the original of Willard Holmes. In 1920 he was selected by the United State government to serve on the Niles Project Commission. He then went on to become Director of Works of the Palos Verdes Project, the largest urban enterprise ever undertaken.