Falls City Engineer: a history

Published Oct. 6, 2009

The first Falls City Engineer went to print in October 1977, but the publication wasn’t the district’s first.

The Louisville District Information Bulletin, first printed on 8 x 10.5 paper in 1969, housed various bits of information, ranging from short summaries of work performed by Corps offices for that month, to recollections from the first district employees on the ground at the flood of 1977 in Johnstown, Pa. Awards, birthdays, safety messages, pictures and financial advice also filled the pages.

In July of 1977, the public affairs office decided to hold a district-wide contest to determine the name of what would become the Falls City Engineer. The following paragraph was taken directly from the contest announcement that ran in the issue.

"The contest to name the new district newspaper yielded some 175 entries, some of which suggested a name and some of which also suggested a concept that might guide the newspaper. The public affairs office staff’s first choice was Kaleidoscope primarily because it suggested the changing mission of the Corps’ dedication to reflecting the wants and needs of the American people. One of the finalists among the names was "The Falls City Engineer," which was appropriate because of the uniqueness of Louisville’s location at the Falls of the Ohio."

District Engineer Col. Thomas Nack turned down "Kaleidoscope" as a name, but supported it as a concept. He picked the "Falls City Engineer" as the name. Rosie Mandia of the planning division was awarded a framed color photograph of the Belle of Louisville for suggesting "Kaleidoscope."

Like other Department of Defense publications, "The Falls City Engineer’s" look has evolved to reflect improvements in newspaper (newsletter) production. A newspaper’s design—organization of content, headline and photo placement, font, use of art, etc., is critical to attracting and holding readers’ interest.

By 1984, picture reproduction capabilities at the Corps’ printing office improved enough that the public affairs office began enlarging photos and running them on the front page, much like a magazine format.

In 1986, the staff decided to enlarge the Falls City Engineer from 8 x 10.5 pages to tabloid-sized sheets that measured 11 x 14. The tabloid format ran for several years until the public affairs office decided to move back to the smaller version.

In September 1997, the final "The Falls City Engineer" print-only version ran, but district news continued in digital format on the Corps’ intranet. However, the stories, photos, and other information weren’t compiled in an online newsletter. Instead, they were posted to the "What’s News at a Glance" page.

In July, the public affairs office re-introduced "The Falls City Engineer" in a digital format that is now linked on the Corps’ intranet homepage.