Joachim Giæver

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Joachim Gotsche Giæver
Born(1856-08-15)15 August 1856
Died29 May 1925(1925-05-29) (aged 68)
EducationTrondhjems Tekniske Læreanstalt, 1881
Spouse(s)Louise Caroline Schmedling
Parent(s)Jens Holmboe Giæver and Hanna Birgithe Holmboe
Engineering career
DisciplineCivil engineer
ProjectsConstructed the framework of the Statue of Liberty
AwardsKnight, 1st class of the Order of St. Olav

Joachim Gotsche Giæver (15 August 1856 – 29 May 1925) was a Norwegian born, American civil engineer who designed major structures in the United States.


Joachim Gotsche Giæver was born at the village of Jøvik at Lyngen in Troms, Norway. He was the youngest of eight children born to Jens Holmboe Giæver (1813–1884) and Hanna Birgithe Holmboe (1821–1903). His father was a leader in the local fishing industry. Giæver entered the Norwegian Institute of Technology (Trondhjems Tekniske Læreanstalt) at Trondheim from which he was graduated in 1881 with the degree of Civil Engineer. [1]

He migrated to the United States in 1882, where he found employment as a draftsman at Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1883, he went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to work as a draftsman and later civil engineer for the Schiffler Bridge & Iron Co. where he designed several bridges over the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers. He was married in New York during 1883 to Louise C. Schmedling of Trondhjem, Norway.[2]

In 1886, he designed the structural framework for the Statue of Liberty. His work involved design computations, detailed fabrication and construction drawings, as well as oversight of construction. In completing his engineering for the statue’s frame, he worked from drawings and sketches produced by the designer, Gustave Eiffel. In 1891, he went to Chicago to become Assistant Chief Engineer of the World’s Columbian Exposition. In 1898, he became Chief Engineer for the firm of D. H. Burnham & Company, a position he held until 1915.[3] [4]

In 1916, he entered into partnership with Frederick P. Dinkelberg to form the architectural and engineering firm of Giaver and Dinkelberg. Later with the architect firm of Thielbar and Furgard; Giaver and Dinkleberg, he assisted with the design on the 35 East Wacker Building (also known as the Jewellers' Building) located in downtown Chicago. Designed during 1924 with construction finished during 1926, at the time it was America's largest building outside of New York City.[5]

He was a trustee of the Norwegian American Hospital in Chicago, President of the Chicago Norske Klub and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He was decorated as a Knight, 1st class of the Order of St. Olav in 1920. [6]


  1. ^ Helle, Knut (ed.). "Joachim Giæver". Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
    - Genealogical entry for Jens Holmboe Giæver (1813–1884)
    - "Joachim Gottske Giæver". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  2. ^ Memoirs of Deceased Member Joachim Gotsche Giaver (Giæver) (American Society of Civil Engineers. Amasa C. Bull)
  3. ^ Norwegian-American Engineer saved Statue of Liberty (The International Forum for Culture and Literature for Peace. Michael Holmboe Meyer) Archived 2015-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Norway’s own link to Lady Liberty ( Berglund)
  5. ^ 35 East Wacker Drive (Chicago Architecture Info)
  6. ^ Chicago`s Proud Norwegian Heritage (Chicago Ttribune)

Other sources[edit]