Harry F. Stafford was born in Sonoma County, California, on October 4, 1864. He received his schooling at Napa College and the State University, taking a special course in Scientific Civil Engineering. On completing his education, Mr. Stafford took a position in the post office of Santa Ana serving as Deputy Postmaster for one year.
In 1886, Mr. Stafford began his career as surveyor and topographical engineer, and was so engaged until 1888, at which time, while still in his twenty-fourth year, he was elected county surveyor of Los Angeles County.
During his years in office, much was accomplished that has since been a great aid toward effecting the steady growth of the City of Los Angeles. The most noteworthy achievements were the establishing of the tunnels in the San Gabriel Project, overseeing the building and installation of the Edison Plant of Los Angeles, and starting the work on the outfall sewer. Mr. Stafford died before the work on the outfall Sewer was completed.
A master engineer in theory and in practice, Mr. Stafford was held in high regard by his associates. He died on August 3, 1906 in Los Angeles.
While Mr. Stafford was City Engineer, the Third Street Tunnel was bored, the City took over the water system, wireless replaced carrier pigeons as a means of communicating between Los Angeles and Catalina Island, the City of Venice was founded, Los Angeles began to eye Owns County's water supply, and the City of Los Angeles annexed the Shoe String strip which made Wilmington a part of the city and set the stage for annexation of San Pedro three years later in 1909. In 1906, the first Board of Public Works was appointed.