Year Inducted: 2012
More than a century of development around the city of Birmingham and state of Alabama has been impacted by the Schoel family, beginning in 1888, when Herman Schoel established the tradition of surveying and engineering excellence. That tradition is carried on today by Walter Schoel Engineering Company Inc., which is still located in the heart of Birmingham and still serving its clients with integrity and quality service.
Herman Schoel migrated to the United States from northern Germany in the late 1870s, seeking to apply the engineering and surveying education and skills developed while serving in the German army. He first worked with Elyton Land Company, refining the earlier rough layouts of Birmingham and engineering many of the areas that now form the core of the city. One of the very early official city of Birmingham maps, copyrighted 1888, was Herman’s work. That same year, Herman Schoel left the realty company and founded the private practice of Civil Engineering and Land Surveying, which eventually became Walter Schoel Engineering Company Inc.
Today, Schoel Engineering has 67 employees: 10 are licensed engineers, four are professionals with civil engineering education, and 10 are registered land surveyors. During its 118-year history, Schoel Engineering has helped shape Birmingham and neighboring communities through its engineering contributions in many areas. Schoel has surveyed and resurveyed most of the property that makes up Birmingham and many of the surrounding communities. Schoel mapped the original city blocks of Birmingham and contributed to the building of over 100 educational sites, including current and past elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools; Samford University; The University of Alabama at Birmingham; and Birmingham-Southern College.
Many important landmarks and developments bear the mark of Schoel, including the Tutwiler Hotel, Birmingham City Hall, Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham Public Library, and Elmwood Cemetery. Schoel was involved in many of the buildings shaping the skyline of Birmingham, including the AmSouth Harbert Plaza, Energen Plaza, Concord Center, and Birmingham News.
Some of Schoel’s recent projects include Liberty Park, a 3,600-acre, mixed-use development; Greystone, a 3,000-acre residential development and championship golf course; the 27-acre campus of Southern Progress Corporation; the eight-acre renovation of Vulcan Park overlooking Birmingham; numerous projects on the campuses of both The University of Alabama at Birmingham and St. Vincent’s Hospital; the 170-acre Summit retail development; and the Honda manufacturing plant in Lincoln, Alabama.
Schoel’s expertise in hydrology, flood mapping, and flood mitigation in Alabama has allowed the company to participate in many projects of significant regional importance that have provided widespread benefits to communities and businesses, including assisting the Emergency Management Agency with improving that agency’s flood-forecasting system.
Committed to the betterment of Birmingham and the state of Alabama, Schoel contributes to various worthwhile civic and charitable organizations dedicated to helping people in need. Schoel also contributes to organizations dedicated to the revitalization of the city of Birmingham and economic development in the state of Alabama.
Integrity and quality service—they worked in the beginning. Now, more than 100 years later, Schoel Engineering is proving these traditions of excellence continue today.