Griff Burr, Sr. came to Memphis from Detroit in 1947 - from being assistant chief mechanical engineer of a large A/E firm, Giffels and Valet, to being half of a two-man engineering department in the Hanker & Heyer Architectural Firm. Within a year he founded Office of Griffith C. Burr, setting up such a small office in the Dermon Building that he had to get up from his drafting bench for his first employee to maneuver through to his drafting table. In the late 1940s Mr. Burr's engineering firm designed cooling systems for the relocated Second Presbyterian Church and for the old Chisca Hotel downtown on South Main - two of the early large structures in Memphis to boast central air conditioning. Today, as people take air conditioning for granted, it's hard to believe that a little over 50 years ago in Memphis, it was not a necessity, but a luxury. Air conditioning systems being installed at that time were generally only in smaller buildings and were designed by the vendors of air conditioning equipment. But there was a growing need for independent consulting engineers to design the systems for large buildings. This afforded building owners competitive bidding as well as design tailored to owners' needs. The Burr firm soon expanded its business to include all aspects of mechanical and electrical engineering, a focus it maintains today. Since 1948 the firm has provided mechanical and electrical engineering services for more than 2, 700 projects and has worked for clients, both across the country and abroad, as well as in the Mid-South. Initially, schools and churches were a very significant part of the firm's practice. In the 1950's the State of Mississippi had a large building program to build consolidated secondary schools. A branch office in Corinth was established then to facilitate the firm's effort on design of more than 30 schools, mostly in north Mississippi.