Gavin Nelson Houston, 1871-1950, was born in Whindham, Connecticut, USA. He graduated in civil engineering from Princeton University in 1893, and practiced his profession in Colorado for thirteen years. He came to Calgary, Alberta in 1913 as an irrigation engineer for the Dominion Irrigation Office and later worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Department of Natural Resources in Lethbridge, Alberta. One of his duties was to do a land reclassification survey of the CPR's Western Irrigation District near Strathmore, Alberta. He retired in 1936, then lectured in irrigation at the Olds School of Agriculture for several years. He had two daughters, Martha and Dorothy (Kemp).