Capt. James J. Meyler

James Joseph Meyler was born in New Jersey in 1866.  He graduated second in the West Point class of 1887 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers.  Meyler was promoted to first lieutenant on Sept. 20, 1892 and then to captain on July 5, 1898.  When the Spanish-American War was declared, Meyler was among the engineers who mined San Francisco harbor.  Prior to establishing the Los Angeles District and becoming its first District Engineer in 1898, Meyler was among engineers in San Francisco engaged in investigative and exploratory works that led to harbor improvements at San Diego, Wilmington and Port San Luis Obispo, as well as the momentous decision to construct a man-made harbor at San Pedro.  He also participated in several surveys and work projects in the Colorado River that improved navigation.  Meyler died in his home in Newark, N.J. on Dec. 12, 1901, after suffering from pneumonia for three weeks.  He left behind a widow and an eight-year-old son.  Because of his leadership in the construction of the San Pedro breakwater, a street in San Pedro was named after him.


San Pedro breakwater under construction 1902In 1898 a small group of Army engineers, under the command of Captain J. J. Meyler, began building a breakwater in San Pedro Bay. Over the years, the project evolved into the superport complex of Los Angeles/Long Beach, now one of the largest artificial harbors in the world.

From that small critical mass, the Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District expanded into a dynamic public engineering agency. Some of the most illustrious names in U.S. military and engineering history have dotted the rosters of the L.A. District, including both Generals MacArthur, father and son.

Today, nearly 700 dedicated professionals and support staff provide extensive planning, design, engineering and construction expertise. Our mission is to perform civil works, military construction, real estate operations, regulatory actions and support for other agencies.

The L.A. District is one of the largest in the United States, covering some 226,000 square miles across southern California, southern Nevada, a slice of Utah and all of Arizona. We operate in the second-largest urban area in America—and we work in small farming communities. Our customers and stakeholders have one of the strongest political bases in the country, with about 54 members of Congress in our area—more than any other Corps district.