Contact Us

Todd B. Portune Center for County Government

138 East Court Street, Room 700  - Cincinnati, OH 45202

Phone: (513) 946-4250

Hours of Operation: 8am-4pm Mon-Fri

History of the Hamilton County Engineer

The office of County Engineer evolved from the important role played by the County Surveyor in the first decades of Ohio 's statehood. As early as 1785, Ohio served as a 'laboratory' for the development of the Public Lands rectangular survey system, and well into the 1800's, the County Surveyor was charged with the tremendous task of clarifying land titles and boundaries. After 1820, a movement for 'internal improvements' swept through the state, and County Surveyors became increasingly involved in transportation related projects: specifically in the development of canals and roads. By the late 19th century, the major duty of the County Surveyor was the building and maintenance of roads, bridges and drainage ditches.

The office of County Surveyor was established by the first General Assembly following the admission of Ohio to the Union in 1803. Whenever a new county was created, the County Surveyor , Recorder, Prosecuting Attorney and Clerk were appointed by the legislature. County Surveyors were paid only a per diem wage for those days when they were actually employed.

In 1831, the legislature voted to make the office elective because of the increased responsibilities it entailed. The law stated that a County Surveyor would serve a term of three years, 'if he so long qualified'. Legislation passed in 1915, established a salary and conferred on the County Surveyor the title of "Resident Engineer for the State Highway Department.' In 1928, the term of office was lengthened from three years to four. Then on August 30, 1935, the title was changed to " County Engineer '. 
Today, only persons who hold registration certificates from the State of Ohio as a 'Registered Professional Engineer' and 'Registered Professional Surveyor' may hold the office of County Engineer .