J.F. Shea Co. collection, 1885-2007

Finding aid prepared by Gina C Giang.
Manuscripts Department
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
Fax: (626) 449-5720
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
© 2017
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: J.F. Shea Co. collection
Dates: 1885-2007
Collection Number: mssSheacollection
Collector: J.F. Shea Co.
Extent: 3 boxes
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Manuscripts Department
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
Fax: (626) 449-5720
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
Abstract: The J.F. Shea collection primarily consists of photographs, negatives, and slides related to J.F. Shea Co.
Language of Material: The records are in English.

Administration Information


Collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please go to following web site .

Publication Rights

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

J.F. Shea collection. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Acquisition Information

Gift of John F. Shea, February 2008.


In 1881, John Francis Shea founded J.F. Shea Co., which started as a plumbing company in Portland, Oregon. His son, Charlie Shea, took over the company and was involved with major engineering projects such as the Hoover Dam, the Parker Dam, the Bonneville Dam, the Gunpower-Montebello Tunnel, and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Today, the company is operated under the fourth generation. Shea Homes, is a member of the J.F. Shea Co., and is the largest privately owned new home builder in the United States.

Scope and Content

The J.F. Shea collection primarily consists of photographs, negatives, and slides related to J.F. Shea Co. The bulk of these items appear to have been used for a book and those chapter numbers were retained. The photographs, negatives, and slides document various projects such as the Hoover Dam, Golden Gate Bridge, Owyhee Tunnel, Buckskin Mountain Tunnel, and the Parker Dam. There are also images of commercial and residential homes constructed by J.F. Shea Co., Inc.
In Box 3, there are two oversize items: 1. An aerial photograph of the Hoover Dam and a photograph album related to the construction of the Broadway Tunnel, San Francisco, California.
Note: There were some loose items that were integrated based on the subject matter. Also, the dates were gathered from items that were clearly dated. There may be material earlier or later in each folder.

Indexing Terms

Corporate Names

J.F. Shea Co.


Bridges--Design and construction
Civil engineering
Construction industry
Dams--Design construction
Tunnels--Design and construction


Negatives (photographs)
Slides (photographs)

Box 1

Correspondence - Subject files

Folder 1

Correspondence -- Miscellaneous (1928-2002)

Seven letters. 1. Treasury Department. Office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue to Charles A. Shea regarding the estate of J.F. Shea; 2. Law Offices of Thelen & Marrin to J.F. Shea Co., Inc. regarding finances for various projects, 1937; 3. Charles A. Shea to Revenue Agent in Charge regarding J.F. Shea Co., Inc. Year 1935, 1937; 4. St. Louis Power Shovel Co. to Tom Greenley, J.F. Shea Co. regarding Owyhee Conway, 1938; 5. Lawrence P. Sowles to Gilbert Shea regarding Shasta Dam, 1942; 6. John Wallace Young to "Friends" regarding his cancer, 1975; 7. Newsletter Consultant to Melody Maysonet regarding a CD of photos compiled for Roy Humphrey’s retirement, 2002
Folder 2

Miscellaneous -- Financial, notes, and printed matter (1885-2007)

Six items. 1. An estimate for bricks from [Otto K-----?], 1885; 2. Transbay Construction Company stock certificate, 1933; 3. State of California. Department of Water Resources. Contractor’s Experience and Financial Condition, 1961; 4. Printed genealogy material from myfamily.com, 2007; 5. Log of photographs, undated; 6. One handwritten list beginning "635 C.E. Clegham?"
Folder 3

Newsletters (1934-1987)

3 newsletters. 1. Colorado River Aqueduct News, Vol. 1 No. 23, 1934; Colorado River Aqueduct News, Vol 2, No. 11, 1935 [photocopy]; Shea Times, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1987
Folder 4

Presentations (communicative events) -- J.F. Shea Co., Inc. Presentation to Shea Family (2006, Sept.)

Folder 5

Subject files -- Chapter 2 FPO (1931)

Included: Photographs of Owyhee Tunnel, Portland Henny Building, Charlie, Lucille, and John Shea. There is one photograph of J.F. Shea Co. Contractors building on North Columbia Blvd and one slide. Additional Owyhee Tunnel material in Box 2 (6)
Folder 6

Subject files -- Chapter 3 FPO (1931-1988)

Included: Photocopy of a letter from Six Companies Inc. Builders of the Hoover Dam to E.O Mattis, Utah Construction Co. regarding first check received from the United States government and one slide. There are also printed matter and photographs mostly related to the Hoover Dam
Folder 7

Subject files -- Chapter 5 FPO (1941-1967)

Included: Photographs of Burbank Reservoir, Mill City, Oregon, Berkeley Hills Tunnel, a gravel plant, John, Edmund, and Gilbert Shea. There is also one negative and one slide
Folder 8

Subject files -- Chapter 6 FPO (1959)

Included: Photographs of Peter, John, and Edmund Shea, the Berkeley Hills Tunnel, and twenty slides
Folder 9

Subject files -- Chapter 7 FPO (1972)

Included: Photographs of Bert Selva, [John Parker of PBS], and Shea brothers? There are also images of Buckskin Mountain Tunnel project, boring machine model 233-172, 1010-179, and three prospectuses for J.F. Shea Co., Inc.
Folder 10

Subject files -- Chapter 8 FPO (1989)

Included: Photographs of NORS portal shaft, pier #4, John Shontere, and John F. Shea. Also included are negatives and two prospectuses for Shea Properties
Folder 11

Subject files -- Chapter 9 FPO (1997)

Included: Photographs of an event at the Marriot, Ontario, California, boring machine model 1010-179, and Edward Shea. There are four negatives and sixteen slides of mostly Shea properties
Folder 12

Subject files -- Chapter 10 FPO (1979-1990)

Included: Photographs of various tunneling projects including Central Arizona Project, Buckskin Mountain Tunnel, NORS portal shaft, Greenbelt Route Tunnel, and a tunnel in Chicago. Other photographs include boring machine model 1010-179, 233-172, a grading operation on Interstate 5, north of Redding, California, Jim and Peter Shea. There are seven negatives and eight slides
Folder 13

Subject files -- Chapter 11 FPO [undated]

Included: Primarily portraits of Ron Lakey, John Morrissey, John Shontere, John and Peter Shea. There is an image of Peter Shea, Jr. at a desk and Edward, Peter, and John Shea walking out of J.F. Shea Co., Inc. Shea Homes building. There is one slide
Folder 14

Subject files -- Clear Creek Tunnel (1957-1960)

Included: Fifteen photographs
Box 2

Subject files

Folder 1

Subject files -- Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, Calif.) and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (Oakland and San Francisco, Calif.) (1933-1937)

Included: Primarily construction photographs, two negatives, three slides, The Golden Gate Bridge by the Bethlehem Steel Company, and The Bridge is Opened The Chief Looks Back Over the Record...by Western Construction News
Folder 2

Subject files -- Hoover Dam (Ariz. and Nev.) (1934-2000)

Included: Hoover Dam @ Boulder City by Marion V. Allen [book], photographs, negatives, and one slide
Folder 3

Subject files -- Hungry Horse Project, Mont. (U.S.) (1952)

Included: One cover of a construction progress report, a photograph, a pamphlet, and a newspaper clipping
Folder 4

Subject files -- Miscellaneous

Included: Primarily negatives, photographs, and slides of J.F. Shea homes, Bill York, John Shea, Jim Davidson, Les Brown, and others
Folder 5

Subject files -- Miscellaneous, historical (1933-1976)

Included: Primarily historical photographs and negatives related to J.F. Shea Co., construction projects, machinery, a photograph of Bonneville Dam construction, aerial image of Grand Coulee Dam
Folder 6

Subject files -- Owyhee Mountains (Idaho and Or.) (1931-1975)

Included: Six photographs, two negatives, and a clipping from the Western Construction related to the Owyhee tunnel and Owyhee Project. Additional Owyhee Tunnel material in Box 1 (5)
Folder 7

Subject files -- Parker Dam (Ariz. and Calif.) (1936-1937)

Included: Photographs and a negative of Parker Dam. There are three issues of Colorado River: Aqueduct News from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and a copy of Certificate of Registration for Construction Work or Services issued to Six Companies, Inc. for construction of Parker Dam
Folder 8

Subject files -- Parker Dam (Ariz. and Calif.) (1937)

Included: One newspaper, legal documents, notes and photographs related to the Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) strike
Box 3


Item 1

Photograph albums -- Broadway Tunnel, San Francisco, California (1934)

Item 2

Photographs -- Hoover Dam (Ariz. and Nev.) [undated]