The Public Works Historical Society (Society) was chartered in 1975 by the American Public Works Association (APWA) to prepare a history of public works in America to coincide with the United States bicentennial. Our official formation was announced at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C., on April 10, 1975. Senator Jennings Randolph – then Chairman of the Senate Public Works Committee – was the principal speaker. The Society's first annual meeting followed later that year in New Orleans.

During our over 25-year history, the Society has evolved as an historical organization, having published volumes of books, essays, and articles; administered research grants; sponsored award programs; and hosted academic seminars and meetings.