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The History of Chapter 56

We became a member of Region 4, Chapter 56, of the American Right of Way Association on October 1, 1971.   

The main reason for the establishment of Chapter 56 was to establish a vehicle that would provide professional development and education for the people working in the field of right‐of‐way.    In the beginning, the forming of educational and professional guideline, there was a “grandfather” clause that allowed most professionals the opportunity to receive the designation of SR/WA relatively quick and easy.  The Professional Development Program team worked hard for about two years to develop standards.  The program region wide seemed to flounder.    It was thought that basically the problem was due to lack of understanding of the requirements and procedures to follow in seeking the Senior Designation.    The International Committee then prepared a book in order to assure nationwide uniformity of the requirements and procedures to follow in seeking the Senior Designation.  Chapter 56 began to offer courses of study that would help local right‐of‐way professionals to achieve the goal of Senior Designation.

Giving credit to Mr. Frank Finney, Past President, of Chapter 56 for actually writing a wonderful synopsis of the beginning of our organization his words will be somewhat revised, but mostly copied for a new edition of the history of Chapter 56, Region 4.

“It took a long, long time to generate sufficient interest in the creation of a separate American Right‐Of‐Way Association Chapter in the State of Delaware and embracing the entire Delmarva Peninsula.  Of course, we are now known as the International Right‐Of‐Way Association.    Once the interest was aroused, it took even more dedication to produce active organizational direction to get the mechanics of incorporation realized.  Approximately 14 years before the Charter became fact, the condemnation group, a nucleus of active pioneers, met at luncheon sessions fairly regularly to discuss the mutual problems concerned with right‐of‐way activities, and embracing all four disciplines of engineering, appraising, law and negotiations.  Mr. Daniel L. Hermann, who as Chief Justice of the Delaware State Supreme Court, was one of them and one of the key figures in this early group.  His associates, also leaders in their respective fields, were Mr. Herbert L Keene, then Chief of Right‐Of‐Way for Delaware Highways; Mr. Harvey J. Berry, Chief of Right‐Of‐Way at the time; Mr. Henry Gass, Chief of Right‐Of‐Way for Delmarva Power and Light Company and a member of Chapter No. 9 in Pennsylvania at the time; Mr. Walter Barczewski, SR/WA, then an independent appraiser at the time, who then held the post of Vice‐President of Wilmington Trust Company for their real estate section.  A then young law clerk who quickly became a prominent attorney, William D. Bailey, Jr., Esq., contributed input, as did some outstanding realtors: Mr.   Arnold Goldsborough, Mr. Sam Hanby, Mr. Robert E. Hickman.” It should be duly noted at this point that Mr. Herbert L. Keene, Sr., was not only the first Director for Chapter 56, but the driving force behind the conception and ultimately the inception of this Chapter.


In 1979 James N. Keller, SR/WA, CRA, was the first member to obtain the SR/WA designation. Later that year Walter Barczewski and Rod S. Hill, Jr. earned the SR/WA designation.

During Chapter 56 forty-nine years, the top three infrastructure projects, in my opinion, would be I‐95 through the City of Wilmington, Delaware Route 1, and the new Indian River Inlet Bridge.

Chapter 56 Past Presidents


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