Seated: Carl, Ralph, Boyd, Lyle, Wayne, Charles; Standing: Ferd, Paul, J. Lee
Photo Taken About 1915
Hornor Brothers Engineers (HBE) is the oldest engineering firm in West Virginia and was established by brothers Carl L. Hornor and Paul S. Hornor in 1902. They were the second and fourth sons of Charles and Catherine Hornor.
The brothers learned the rudiments of surveying from their father and by the time they were both young men, they were already well known for their expertise. Both became leading Clarksburg citizens and made important contributions to the City.
Carl Hornor was an authority on coal and had various business interests that included engineering and banking. He was the third statewide President of the West Virginia Society of Professional Engineers in 1934. He also served a term as Rotary’s National President.
Paul S. Hornor had a career that included engineering, contracting, banking and real estate. In 1954 he became President of the Union National Bank in Clarksburg.
The brothers performed surveying and engineering work all over north-central West Virginia. They surveyed for railroads, coal mines and designed railroad sidings, coal tipples, coal mines and industrial lots by the thousands.
They laid-out and staked new residential additions including North View, Industrial, Grasselli, Nutter Fort, the Fairgrounds Addition, Norwood, White Addition, Arbutus Park, Alta Vista, Goff Plaza, Stealey, Adamston, Lumberport, and parts of Shinnston, Monongah and Fairmont.
Paul S. Hornor sold his one-half interest to his brother Carl in 1916. From 1916 to 1938 Carl Hornor continued with the firm until the age of 62. Following the death of his Uncle Carl, Paul Allen Hornor assumed the firm’s leadership in 1938. It was at that time that HBE began its long running association with Benedum Airport, now North Central WV Airport. This association continued for over 60 years.
During the 1930’s and 1940’s, the firm’s primary interest was in the coal mining industry. The demand for underground surveys and deep mine design was particularly great during and after World War II. HBE served hundreds of coal companies during that time. By the 1950s HBE was involved in many municipal projects – streets, sidewalks and the majority of the Benedum Airport facilities, including the terminal building and control tower. The 1990s were also a busy time of development, including a major runway extension.
In the early 1960s the firm did a great deal of work for the City of Clarksburg, including the design of approximately ten miles of concrete city streets. The firm became involved in water system development in the 1940s by first handling the project management responsibilities for construction of water treatment plants and storage reservoirs in the towns of Bridgeport and West Union. Today, the firm continues to consult regularly with public service district, municipalities, water associations, industries and individuals throughout north-central WV on these types of projects.
Paul A. Hornor, Jr. joined the company in 1963. In 1985 he assumed the role of President when his father retired. During his tenure as president which lasted to the end of the 20th century, HBE focused primarily on water system and sewer development, airport development and commercial and residential site development. Land surveying services also continued as they do today.
Paul A. Hornor III (Trey) joined the company in 1985 and became President in 2000. Trey and his brother, John, the company’s survey manager, represent the fourth generation of the Hornor family to be directly involved in the business. In 2012, Marshall Robinson joined the firm as a business partner which led the firm into design and land surveying services associated with the development of gas well sites and related features.
The offices of Hornor Brothers Engineers display the certificates of Professional Engineering Registration in West Virginia for those who have worked at HBE.
It is interesting to note that Carl Hornor had the professional registration number of 43 and the current president, his great, great nephew Trey Hornor, has the number of 10,281. There were 10,238 engineers licensed in West Virginia over those 65 years.
Then & Now
Hornor Brothers Engineers was located at what was then known as the Hornor Building on Main Street in Clarksburg, WV from 1902 to 1937. In 1937 the business moved east to its current location at the corner of Main and Third Streets in the center of the city. Located in the Clarksburg Downtown Historic District, this unique three-story stone building is a noteworthy example of Neo-Romanesque Revival architecture, with an impressive amount of architectural detail. It was constructed in approximately 1890 and continues to serve the business today.
Original door from the old Hornor Building on Main Street in Clarksburg, moved to its current location at the present Hornor Brothers’ office building. The door shows the names of all the Hornor brothers who worked at various businesses in the Hornor Building around 1920.