David Bates Douglass (March 21, 1790 – October 21, 1849) was a civil and military engineer, who worked on a broad set of projects throughout his career. He was an instructor/professor at The US Military Academy, Kenyon and Hobart Colleges. Born in New Jersey, he graduated from Yale University, fought in the War of 1812, consulted on the Erie Canal’s western end, and designed the Montville inclined plane on the Morris Canal across the Northern area of New Jersey.
Most New Yorkers enjoy Mr. Douglass’ work at the Green-Wood Cemetery. The sprawling, natural landscape and one of the highest points in Brooklyn (200 feet above sea level) is a beautiful and inspirational place where the dead have been placed for over 150 years. The cemetery opened in 1838 when there was no room left to bury in Manhattan. The gates of the cemetery were designated a New York City landmark in 1966, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 and was granted National Historic Landmark status in 2006 by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The layout of the cemetery has inspired hundreds of other places of rest throughout the world.
Other noteworthy projects that Douglass led or was a major contributor in included surveying the Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad route, the design of a major water delivery system for New York City, and the design of cemeteries in Albany and Quebec based on his design of Green-Wood.