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Patricia Miller Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority collection

Identifier: MS2359

Scope and Contents

This collection contains publications and maps of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, photographs of the progression of the construction of the rail system, and oversized photographs mounted on foam core. The materials date from 1950-2000.


  • Creation: 1950 - 2000

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.


The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, WMATA, with central offices in Washington, DC, is the private agency charged with the coordination and operation of mass transit in the National Capital Region. This area includes Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland, Arlington, the District of Columbia, and Fairfax County in Virginia.

The Interim Board of Directors of WMATA first met in mid-October, 1966, chaired by Brig. Gen. Jackson Graham, formerly Engineering Commissioner for the District. WMATA was formally established on February 20, 1967. WMATA formally received its charter in September 1967.

WMATA superseded the National Capital Transportation Agency (NCTA); a federal agency established by President Eisenhower in 1960 and inherited the bus and rail plans of the NCTA. For bus operations, WMATA bought out the routes from the private bus companies operating within its purview (with the exception of Montgomery County's "Ride-On" system) and established a single operation, Metrobus, to serve in their place.

For the creation of Metrorail, popularly known as "the Metro," routes, designs, and plans were finalized by the late 1960s. Work on the subway component began immediately upon the creation of WMATA. DeLeuw, Cather were retained as chief engineering consultants. The firm of Harry Weese and Associates were named chief architectural consultants. Weese was sent on a worldwide tour of subway systems, in order to draw inspiration and ideas for possible station architecture. The final design, agreed upon by a special committee that included the District of Columbia Board of Fine Arts and several artists and architects, was proposed in 1968.

First ground was broken for the subway above the future Judiciary Square station on December 9, 1969. The Metro ran its first day of revenue service, on the abbreviated Red Line beginning at Dupont Circle, in June 1976. Public response was enthusiastic. The system was a highlight of the Bicentennial celebrations one month later, during which it transported thousands of visitors.


Patrcia Miller first joined Bechtel, the engineering consultant to Metro, as a Senior Draftsman in 1974. Her work involved the installation of the various appurtenances which made the system work. These consisted of millions of dollars worth of contracts to oversee the installation of graphics, kiosks, traction power, automatic train control, fare collection, and track work.

In late 1983, WMATA decided that they could handle the engineering themselves. Miller opted to leave Bechtel and obtain employment with WMATA in 1984 as an Assistant Office Engineer. She stayed on with WMATA until her retirement as an Office Engineer in May of 2004.


5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Patricia Miller Washington Metropolitican Area Transit Authority collection largely consists of photographs and maps documenting the the construction of the Metrorail system between the years of 1950 and 2000. The collection also includes WMATA publications, including flyers and newsletters, that provide updates on the progress of the construction of the Metrorail system.


Arranged into 3 series: Publications, Photographs, and Maps.

Physical Location

Series 1 and 2 are stored off-site, and will require additional retrieval time. Series 3 is located on-site. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Patricia Miller, 8/26/2016 (Accession 2016.108)

Separated Materials

Two published maps have been separated from this series and cataloged. The maps are titled Washington, D.C., Transportation Map (1988) and Washington D.C. and Metropolitan Area (1976). These maps have been cataloged as part of the Special Collections stacks.

These maps are located on-site.

Guide to the Patricia Miller Metro collection, 1950-2000
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

George Washington University Gelman Library
2130 H Street NW
Washington DC 20052 United States of America