Benjamin Casey Allin III, the first general manager of the Port of Houston Authority, was inducted into the Texas Transportation Hall of Honor Sept. 12. All six of his grandchildren were present to accept the honor on his behalf at a luncheon in Houston co-sponsored by TTI and the Houston East End Chamber of Commerce.
During his 12 years as general manager (1919–1931), Houston’s Port Authority transformed into the most efficient port in the country. Exports grew by 1,000 percent, and the port itself grew to become the sixth largest in the nation.
Former port Executive Director Tom Kornegay noted that Allin was an engineer who set out to design a port that could rapidly and efficiently load and reload ships, as well as provide vital access to an efficient rail system for moving goods inland. “This is a man who achieved more in just 12 years than most of us achieve in a lifetime,” said Kornegay.
Arthur A. “Sandy” Blanchard, Allin’s grandson, accepted the honor on behalf of the Allin family. “This is an honor that was quite unexpected, but fitting,” Blanchard said. “Our grandfather was 32 years old when he was handed a job that was as great as the all outdoors.”
Dennis Christiansen, TTI agency director, also spoke at the ceremony. Rachel de Cordova, Chair of the Houston East End Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors served as master of ceremonies.
During Allin’s tenure, the Port Authority was the first to ship cotton directly to Europe from the United States, helping make Houston the leader in cotton trade. He also helped reform port governance and implement $4 million in bond issue-approved port improvements. He later worked at other ports around the world until his death in 1960.
Allin is the 36th person inducted into the Hall of Honor, which was established in 2000 by TTI as a way to recognize select individuals who played pivotal roles in the advancement of transportation in Texas and the nation. Each individual inducted is recognized by a plaque on permanent display in the hall, which is located at TTI on the campus of Texas A&M University.