The 1970s in Augusta
Back home the firm continued to produce designs for Augusta's most prestigious new neighborhoods. New employees became necessary to handle both these and the second home developments. The firm moved its offices from 843 Greene Street to new quarters at 1103 Greene Street to accommodate them, and for the first time had sufficient room to house the operations.
John Attaway came to the company from James G. Swift & Associates as a survey party chief. He has grown professionally with the firm to become the head of the Surveying Department and a widely recognized authority on land surveying subjects in Georgia.
Tom Robertson joined Baldwin & Cranston on a full time basis in 1973. For several years he was responsible for much of the design at Big Canoe, where he applied the engineering approach of designing functional things in ways that are sensitive to the contexts in which they are located. The firm strives to continue this approach as a hallmark of many of its designs.
Eldridge A. Whitehurst, Jr. (Ridge Whitehurst) became associated with the firm in 1978, bringing his background in soils and geotechnical investigations to bear on civil engineering projects. This made him especially effective in designing infrastructure for mountainous developments and allowed the firm to develop a special expertise in designing dams and reservoirs. He soon took over a new North Carolina mountain project, Linville Ridge, which he has followed from start to finish.
These, and other key professionals who brought new talents to the staff, allowed the company to broaden its practice to include a wide variety of important municipal public works and utility projects, as well as other public sector endeavors.
In 1975 for example, the company made an early debut in the field of flood plain studies when the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers hired Baldwin & Cranston to model flood profiles on Oates Creek, an urban stream in Augusta. This assignment involved using the Corps' mainframe computer in Savannah and has led to similar other assignments, now using the personal computer, of course.
The company first began engineering for transportation projects in 1978 as a joint venture partner to design the relocation of Georgia State Highways that needed to be moved or raised to clear the new Richard B. Russell Lake on the Savannah River. The work involved the highway design and all necessary field surveys on several bridge crossing sites on the lake.
Ed Baldwin retired from the firm in 1979 to pursue his interests in land development and other fields, and Craig Cranston became president.
As the decade closed, the company began the largest land survey of its history; the boundary of the Savannah River Plant for the U. S. Department of Energy. The boundary lines consisted of some 85 miles of perimeter enclosing 186,000 acres of land. The work continued through 1981, when the client introduced Baldwin & Cranston to Global Positioning Systems (GPS). They used that emerging technology to spot-check various corner locations on the completed survey.
The end of the 1970s found the firm in good financial condition and poised to take on the next decade aggressively. The Cashiers office was in a good position to serve the continuing land boom in western North Carolina, while the Augusta office was on the brink of obtaining considerable public sector work at home.