Biographical Dictionary of Cincinnati Architects, 1788-1940
Author: Walter E. Langsam
Contemporary photographs: Alice Weston
Editors: Susannah Sachdeva and Sue Ann Painter
Publisher: Architectural Foundation of
Steward Wagner | Henry M. Waite | Robert T.P. Waite | M.F. Wakefield | Lymon Walker | William Ernest Walker | Timothy F. Walsh | Henry Walter | William Walter | Roland A. Wank | Dr. John Aston Warder | H. Langford Warren | Weber Brothers | George S. Werner | Richard H. Wheeler | Alfred White | Alpheus White | Horatio White | John B. White | Henry Whitestone | Peter B. Wight | Leonard B. Willeke | Charles I. Williams | Eugene D. Williams | H. Neill Wilson | James Keys Wilson | Louis Henry Wilson | Wischmeyer | Bernard T. Wisenall | Clifford B. Woodward | Eric Wright | Frank Lloyd Wright | H.B. Wuebling | BIBLIOGRAPHY
(Marlin, Texas, 1886-1958)
Partner in (Alfred) Fellheimer & Wagner, principal designers of the Cincinnati Union Terminal. According to Stanford's summary, Wagner "after some local training, moved to New York, enrolled in drawing and design classes at Columbia University, 1907-1909, and attended the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, Atelier Hornbostel, 1907-1910. Concurrently, he worked for the Harry Allan Jacobs firm, New York, 1907-1909, and the Architectural Department, Board of Education, Newark, N.Y., 1909-1910. He was a member of two prominent New York Beaux-Arts firms: H. VanBuren Magonigle, 1910-1912, and Tracy & Swartwout, 1912-1914, before practicing alone until he joined Fellheimer."
Ward (1989), 81;
Stanford (Fall 1983), 2-24;
Painter, AIC (2006), 181.
Waite, Henry M.
(Toledo, Oh., 1869)
Chief Engineer of the Department of Public Works of the City of Cincinnati and later for the Cincinnati Union Terminal Company during the construction of the terminal, which was designed by Fellheimer & Wagner with Paul Cret, consultant.
Stanford (Fall 1983);
Cuvier (1914), 148, 159;
Painter, AIC (2006), 181.
Waite, Robert (T.) P. (Pote)
Practiced in Boston and Reading, Mass., associated with his partner Olin W. Cutter in the design of state armories, county court houses, schools, and other public buildings in eastern Massachusetts. Waite & Cutting designed a house for a Mr. Galbreath in Cincinnati (1892), possibly that of R.H. Galbreath, Lafayette Avenue, Clifton.
Withey (1956,1970), 623;
Boston, COPAR, 67.
Designed E.C. Goshorn house, Vernonville (1896). Listed 1892-1913 in the “Directory of Boston Architects, 1846-1970” (Cambridge, Mass.: Mass. Committee for the Preservation of Architectural Records, 1985), p. 67.
(Zanesville, Oh., born in 1880)
Practiced primarily in Covington, Ky. Son of a Covington realtor; joined S. Hannaford & Sons ca. 1896; worked for the U.S. government in Cuba 1900-1902; then Omaha, Neb., for a short time. A building in Covington is known from 1898; with George Schofield in Covington 1906-1907; on own 1910-1911. Fine Beaux-Arts designer, who apparently also was an early user of "fireproof" reinforced-concrete construction in the Covington 6th District School; designed the Dan Cohen Building on Pike St. (1909-1910); the restrained Arts & Crafts Western German Savings Bank on a wedge-shaped lot at Pike and Ninth streets (1908); and a variety of residential and commercial buildings in N. Ky.
Walker, William Ernest
(Covington, Ky., 1869-1918)
Educated in public and private schools in Ky.; was graduated from Yale University 1891 with B.S. in Architecture; draftsman for Henry Ives Cobb in Chicago 1892-1897 (possibly including work on Cobb's Fisheries Building for the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893); after five years as Supervisor of Construction for the Chicago Board of Education, practiced on own in the Windy City, specializing in large commercial and fireproof apartment buildings.
Withey (1956, 1970), 625-26.
Walsh, Timothy F. (Francis)
(Cambridge, Mass., 1868-1934)
Educated in Boston; worked for Peabody & Stearns ca. 1887-1896, with a couple of years off for study in Paris ateliers and European travel; began practice in Boston in 1896 with Charles D. Maginnis and Matthew Sullivan, and later with Sullivan alone. Maginnis & Walsh had an office in New York City 1914-1916. Maginnis & Walsh (& Sullivan) were probably the leading Roman Catholic practitioners in the first quarter of the century, throughout the country, virtually all their work being commissioned by the Church. In Cincinnati, they designed St. Gregory Seminary, Mt. Washington; for other work, see entry for Charles D. Maginnis.
Withey (1956, 1970), 629;
Kervick (1962), 136;
Ward (1989), 49.
(died in 1851)
Surprisingly little is known of Henry Walter, although he was probably the most important architect to work primarily in the Greek Revival in Cincinnati before the Civil War. It appears that he was not related to Thomas U. Walter of Philadelphia (1804-1887), the designer of Girard College there, and of the dome and wings of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. From the biography of his architect son William Walter, however, it appears that Henry Walter and his family were in Hammond, Pa., about 1815, when William was born there; and another son, Samuel, was born in Hagerstown, Md., in 1820 (see marker in Spring Grove Cemetery). Henry is buried under an odd, architectural stone at Spring Grove Cemetery with his presumed wife Elizabeth; a daughter, Amelia (1827-1900) has a marker along with her brother Samuel. In Henry’s later years William joined him as a partner and completed several of his major works. It has been suggest that some of his better works (like those of his contemporary Seneca Palmer) were actually designed by German-born draftsman John Jolasse, but there seems little doubt that Henry Walter was the prime force in his admirable designs (William Walter's role is less certain).
Henry Walter's known works (by 1991) are St. Peter-in-Chains Roman Catholic Cathedral, SWC Plum and Eighth streets, with portico completed by William Walter; the former Second Presbyterian Church on W. Fourth St.; the Second Baptist Church, on W. Ninth St.; the original Christ Church Episcopal, NS Fourth St., E of Sycamore; the Cincinnati House of Refuge, formerly on the ES of Colerain Ave N of the Cincinnati Work House (also completed by William Walter and his then-partner J.W. Thwaites). The Ohio Mechanics’ Institute Building, SWC Vine and Sixth streets, is sometimes attributed to him, as is the Franklin-Lafayette Bank (confusion arises over the role of Swiss draftsman John Jolasse in the offices of both Henry Walter and Seneca Palmer in this period). Henry Walter also won the original competition for the design of the Ohio State House at Columbus, with which his son among many other architects and even the Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole were later involved.
Most of Walter's known works were Greek Revival, the Presbyterian and Baptist churches being standard attempts to superimpose Wren-like towers on temple-front auditoriums, although the tower of St. Peter-in-Chains (attributed to William Walter by James W. McLaughlin) represents a more adventurous and powerful solution, with a particularly suave series of diminutions upward, including unusual cross-shaped windows (St. Peter's lost its status as Archdiocesan Cathedral to the new St. Monica's by Crowe & Schulte on Clifton Heights 1938-1957, but then regained it after drastic interior renovations and additions, also by Schulte).
Christ Church Episcopal, on the other hand, was an attempt to use English parish church sources (possibly Ecclesiological), suggesting King's Chapel, Cambridge.
Withey (1956, 1970), 619-20;
Wodehouse (1976), I, 273;
Leonard, ed. (1927), 311-12;
Garrett and Lentz (1980), 65;
Langsam (1997), 12, 25, 32, 40;
Painter,Sullebarger, AIC (2006), 34, 43, 44, 45, 54, 78, 238;
SGC, Section 57, Lot 41.
Henry and William Walter
St. Peter in Chain Cathedral, 1841-1845
Archbishop Purcell’s massive basilica shares an important urban intersection with the Plum Street Temple and City Hall (shown on the right). The 140-foot needle spire of the cathedral, which was modeled after that of Sir Christopher Wren’s St. Bride Church in London, is profiled majestically in the city’s western skyline.
(Hammond, Pa., 1815-1886)
Son of Henry Walter; brought up and educated in Cincinnati. Listed on own 1851, 1871-1882; with James K. Wilson 1853-1863; with William Stewart 1864-1870; with George P. Humphries 1875. Completed father's St. Peter-in-Chains Roman Catholic Cathedral, especially the portico around the base of the tower. Also worked on Ohio State Capitol.
Withey (1956, 1970), 631;
Tenkotte and Langsam;
Langsam (1997), 12, 25, 32, 40;
Painter, AIC (2006), 44, 45, 54, 63, 78, 79.
William Walter and James Keys Wilson
Suire Pharmacy Building, 1857 (later Herschede Building)
Herschede’s, a fine jewelry, silver, and china store that catered to the carriage trade, was headquartered in this building from 1939 until the mid-1990s.
Wank, Roland A. (Anthony)
(Budapest, Hungary, 1898-1970)
One of the lesser-known members of the first generation of European-trained Modernist architects to immigrate to the United States, Wank was a force for Modernism in both the design of Cincinnati Union Terminal and the layout of Greenhills during the Depression. He attended the Academy of Fine arts and the Royal Technical University in Budapest and the Technical University at Brno, Czechoslovakia. After serving as an officer in the Austrian army during World War I, he worked for various engineering and construction firms before coming to the United States in 1924, a decade after Rudolf Schindler and a year after Richard Neutra; unlike these compatriots, however, he came to New York rather than Chicago.
Wank served as a junior member of /chief designer for the New York firm of Fellheimer & Wagner 1927-1932. He played an undetermined but probably significant role in their design for the Cincinnati Union Terminal, according to Condit and Stanford. He joined the firm early in 1927, possibly providing Art Deco details for their design of the Buffalo Terminal, but soon left for two years in Europe before returning to the firm in 1929. From 1933 to 1944 he was the principal architect for the Tennessee Valley Author, “a position that won him wide acclaim. His work while with Fellheimer & Wagner on Union Station in Cincinnati was a major experience leading to the T.V.A. commission.”
According to Frederick Gutheim, ‘T.V.A. formed a landmark of contemporary political significance that was recognized for its architecture as well. Not until Saarinen’s General Motors Technical Center was there anything of comparable valeur.”
Other major works by Wank include the town of Greenhills, Ohio (1935-1938), and designs for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (1950-1954). Wank also designed the Hoffmann-LaRoche Laboratories, Nutley, N.J.; Remsen Hall, Queens College, New York City; Eastman Kodak Laboratories, Rochester, N.Y.; and First National Bank, Lima, Peru.
He was a partner in Wank, Adams, Slavin, and Assocs., Architects & Engineers, 155 E. 42nd St., N.Y. He lectured at Princeton, Cornell, Columbia, and Harvard universities, held an honorary D.F.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and contributed articles to technical journals. F.A.I.A.
Wank was one of the lead architects (and engineers and/or planners) in the planning and execution of Greenhills, the mid-1930s "green-belt" community developed by the WPA (or PWA) north of downtown Cincinnati.
Moffett: “Roland Wank is one of the lesser known architects of the Modern Movement because so much of his professional life was spent in large offices where individual contributions were often not recognized publicly [such semi-anonymous team-work or collaboration being one of the stated goals of Modernism, of course]. Nevertheless, he has been hailed by Reyner Banham as one of the most consequential American practitioners in the International Style, and he is justifiably celebrated for the powerful modernist expression he contributed to the dams and powerhouses constructed by the TVA from 1933 to 1944. Throughout his career, Wank showed a willingness to cooperate with engineers and landscape architects on large-scale projects that had a strong commitment to social betterment. . . . While in the office of Fellheimer and Wagner, he worked on the Union Terminal in Cincinnati, demonstrating his ability to integrate architectural design with demanding engineering in a very complex project.”
Wank’s significance and characteristics are succinctly described in R.G. Wilson’s essay, “The Machine in the Landscape” The Machine Age in America, 1918-1941 (1986), p. 117-22 and fns 52-61 on p. 355 , with emphasis on his work for TVA but also reference to CUT.
Stanford (Fall 1983), 2-24;
Condit (1977), 234, 276, n. 17;
Kornwolf (1985), 264;
American Architect and Architecture, II, 2 (February 1938);
Frederick Gutheim, article on Wank in Architectural Forum (9/1970), p. 58-59;
Obituary, N.Y. Times (4/24/1970);
Van Vynckt, ed. (1993), I, 971-73 (by Marian Scott Moffett);
Painter, Sullebarger, AIC (2006), 180, 181, 208.
Roland A. Wank and G. Frank Cordner
Greenhills Community Building, 1936-1938
Enfield Street, Greenhills
Along with Greendale, Wisconsin, and Greenbelt, Maryland, Greenhills was on of only three federal Greenbelt communities built. Planner Justin Hertzog, who laid out Greenhills, assisted John Nolen in planning Mariemont. The curving streets of the subdivision followed the topography of the land. The farmland north of the town was preserved as open space. The Greenhills Community Building is typical of public buildings created under the WPA program. The original principal architect, Hungarian-born Modernist Roland A. Wank, had worked for the New York firm of Fellheimer & Wagner on the design of the Cincinnati Union Terminal and served as chief architect for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). He continued as a consultant after G. Frank Cordner replaced him as principal architect.
Warder, Dr. John Aston
Probably a son of Benjamin and Anne Aston Warder of Springfield, Ohio; he was a prominent manufacturer and civic leader, partner in Warder, Bushnell & Glessner (whose third partner Jacob Glessner was the client for H.H. Richardson’s late, great residence still on Prairie Avenue in Chicago; see also the Warder Free Memorial Public Library there, by Richardson’s successor firm, Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge); she was a philanthropist and early supporter of the abolition of slaves. John Aston Warder was trained as a physician at Philadelphia’s Jefferson Medical College, and practiced medicine in Cincinnati 1837-1851, when he retired. Somewhat later he sold his landscaped estate and Gothic Revival cottage in Clifton, Cincinnati, called “Scarlet Oaks“ (see an illustration in The Western Horticultural Review; it was the predecessor on the site of James K. Wilson‘s Clifton “castle,” the George K. Shoenberger House). He then moved to North Bend, near Cincinnati, where he laid out a “ferme ornee,” called “Aston,” based on the principles of A.J. Downing, which he used as a private experiment station to support his writings.
Dr. Warder edited the Western Horticultural Review (1850-1853), first in Cincinnati and then perhaps in New York City [see copies in the Science and Technology Section of the main branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky]. Either as a successor or as another periodical, he then edited, with James W. Ward, at least some volumes of The Horticultural Review and Botanical Magazine (published by H.W. Derby, Cincinnati). This publication, aimed at the Ohio Valley Region, contains valuable early lithographs and occasional plans of Cincinnati-area residences, conservatories, and estates, with some descriptions. These include a plan by Richard Davies of the Resor estate in Clifton, prepared for the residence designed by Isaiah Rogers; a greenhouse for William Resor, possibly also by Rogers [on what was to become Greendale Avenue in Clifton]; the W.B. Smith estate in Clifton, landscaped by Adolph Strauch around another Rogers villa; an “Italian Bracketed Villa” designed by James K. Wilson for a relative by marriage; a “Gothic Cottage” possibly by Wilson, possibly for himself, above the Ohio River Valley; the Italianate Charles Anderson-John Broadwell Townhouse by John R. Hamilton at Fifth and Pike streets in downtown Cincinnati; the Samuel Cloon house, perhaps a Gothicization of an older farmhouse, in what is now Avondale; “Linwood,” a house by Robert A. Love; Warder’s own early “Scarlet Oaks;” and perhaps others. There are also numerous articles, notes, and correspondence relating to Cincinnati and its vicinity. HR & BM, I (1854), contains several articles on architecture by John R. Hamilton.
For further works and activities, as well as a bibliography, see Birnbaum and Karson. The summary by Sherda K. Williams: “Dr. John Warder’s writings are significant in the history of horticulture and landscape gardening in the Ohio River Valley, and for fostering public interest in forest conservation at both a regional and national level.”
Birnbaum and Karson (2000), 125-27;
Langsam (1997), 7, 33, 44.
Warren, H. Langford
(Manchester, England, 1857-1917)
Prominent Boston architect in the early 20th century. Born in England of American parents who were serving as Swedenborgian missionaries in Europe, and educated in Manchester; with family in Germany 1869-1871, studying at Gotha and Dresden; then for four years in Manchester. In 1875 began architectural study at M.I.T.; after graduation in 1877, studied for four years at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, then spent four years in the office of H.H. Richardson in Brookline, Mass, serving as assistant in design. After 1885 (the year of Richardson’s death) Warren practiced in Troy, N.Y., under the firm name of Warren, (F. Patterson) Smith & Briscoe, then as Warren & Smith (a firm name retained until the 1920s). In 1890 Warren closed his office in Troy, returning to Boston. He taught at Harvard as Assistant Professor after 1893, was promoted to head of the Department in 1896, and held the position of Chair of Architecture at Harvard until his death. An early member of the American Institute of Architects, Warren advanced to fellowship in 1891, and served on the national Board of Directors several years, as well as being associated with the Boston Chapter.
Warren & Smith designed a handsome new Collegiate Gothic chancel for the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Walnut Hills ca. 1911; Warren was the delineator of an elegant interior perspective at the Cincinnati Historical Society Library.
Withey (1956, 1970), 635.
Weber Bros., C.C. (Christian C.) & E.A. (Edward A.)
C.C. Weber is listed as (William) Bausmith & Weber in 1903-1905; on his own in 1906; with E.A. Weber 1907-1912, 1917-1918, 1921; as Weber, (George S.) Werner & (John S.) Adkins in 1913-1916; with E.A. and M.H. Weber in 1919-1929; and with S.K. Weber in 1930-1942.
The Weber Brothers—the leading early 20th-century Northern Kentucky architectural firm—benefited from Edward's role in the Kentucky Republican party, which may have accounted for their receiving the important commission to design the Executive Mansion in Frankfort adjacent to Frank M. Andrews' magnificent early 20th-century Beaux-Arts State Capitol. The mansion, which has been repeatedly "restored," in the early 1980s under the auspices of the architectural historian William Seale for Phyllis George Brown (the renowned sports-caster, then the governor's wife), is also an important example of Beaux-Arts residential design, combining impressive and well-detailed public rooms with family quarters for the Governor above. Derived ultimately from a combination of the Grand and Petit Trianons at Versailles, built for Louis XIV and XVI, via several palatial McKim, Mead & White and Horace Trumbauer Newport, R.I., "cottages," it may actually have been designed by the talented Cincinnati architect John Scudder Adkins, who usually worked with another partner or firm. The Weber Bros. specialized in school and university buildings in Kentucky and elsewhere in the Midwest, including Holmes High School in Covington, Ky., the Newport (Ky.) Junior High School, and a central building at Eastern State University in Richmond, Ky.
The Weber Bros. firm seldom worked in Cincinnati, apparently because of difficulties with the Cincinnati Chapter of the AIA. They were for a time associated with a tile-manufacturing Co., and played an active role in the development of Ft. Thomas, Ky., where they lived and designed many houses and other buildings for half a century. Among their works north of the Ohio, however, are the handsome Droppelman bungalow at 1835 Dexter Ave, East Walnut Hills (1913), and a similar, symmetrical house on Bishop Street in Clifton. After World I, a large and relatively "authentic" limestone Tudor Revival mansion at 748 Betula Ave, Rose Hill, was designed for the "Watermelon King," Stephen A. Gerrard. A monograph of the firm's work remains in the hands of descendants.
Seale and Langsam (1984).
Werner, George S. (Selves)
Listed with (John S.) Adkins 1901-1903, 1906-1908, 1912, 1917-1923; with Adkins & (M.H.) Burton 1905; with Burton 1910-1911; as (C.C.) Weber, Werner & Adkins 1913-1916. Werner was apparently the practical man in the office [see Adkins biography in Memoirs of the Miami Valley].
Langsam (1997), 4, 93, 113, 116;
Nuxhall, SGC, 101, Lot 161.
Wheeler, Richard H.
With Tweddell & Wheeler, etc. Taught at UC/DAAP. President of the CAIA, 1960-1961. Firm designed the ingeniously structured exhibitionistic dining room and the sublimely simple yet evocative Oratory, like a purified barn with a silo as tower and a brilliantly lit Zen/Shaker interior, for the Roman Catholic women’s retreat community at Grailville, Loveland, Clermont Co., Oh.
Sullebarger, AIC (2006), 237.
Haverstock: “English-born architect, civil engineer, and proprietor, from 1853 to 1900, of a marble and monument works in Cincinnati. He employed John Rowe and William R. McComas during the early 1870s as sculptor and designer, respectively. From 1895 until his death in Madisonville in 1900, he was assisted by his son, Alfred Richard White [Cincinnati, 1869- ].”
Haverstock, ed. (2000), 931-32.
According to Kervick, designed The Athenaeum, part of the St. Xavier Roman Catholic Church complex on the west side of Sycamore north of Sixth St. (ca. 1830; razed ca. 1890). Also according to Kervick, "In 1833 Bishop Fenwick who had brought Mr. White into The Church died during a cholera epidemic in Wooster, Ohio and after a brief period the architect supervised the removal of the Bishop's body to his Cathedral in Cincinnati."
Kervick (1962), 137.
H. White & John Trimble of N.Y. are said to have designed the original late 1850s Pike Opera House on the SS of Fourth St. between Walnut and Vine streets, whose patron, Samuel N. Pike, was from New York; after the 1866 fire the building was rebuilt to the designs of Isaiah Rogers, with interiors said to have been designed by his son S.W. Rogers. According to a slide in the UC DAAP Slide Library, Horatio White designed the early Romanesque Revival 3rd Onondaga County Courthouse in Syracuse, N.Y. (1856-1857; demolished 1968).
White, John B.
(Kendal, Westmoreland, England, born in 1887 )
Educated at Kendal; articled or apprenticed to Steven Shaw, F.A.I.A.; John Stalker, M.S.A., Kendal. Probably as a draftsman on individual projects, White claimed to have worked one or more times for most of Cincinnati's early 20th-century firms, including S. Hannaford & Sons, Harry Hake, C.F. Cellarius, G.W. Drach, C.H. Ferber, and Potter, Tyler & Martin, as well as the Cincinnati Union Terminal Co., the Associated Architects of Covington, Ky., and Havens & Emerson of Cleveland, Oh., and Ft. Knox, Ky.
(County Clare, Ireland, ca. 1825-1893)
Superb Anglo-Irish architect, who practiced mainly in Louisville, Ky., where he began in the local office of Isaiah Rogers of Cincinnati. Listed in Cincinnati as Rogers, Whitestone & Co., 1857. It is possible that Whitestone, who was later noted for the quality of his team of craftsmen, influenced the character of Rogers' work in the mid-1850s, although their 1850s partnership contract specified (according to Rogers' Journal) that Rogers designed and Whitestone was to "finish" the drawings. Certainly Whitestone's prolific work on his own tends toward simple massing with exquisitely detailed surfaces, in contrast to such joint works as the 5th Ward (later Monserrat) School, and the Louisville Hotel, both noted for simple, almost harsh surfaces.
Withey (1956, 1970), 655.
Wight, Peter B. (Bonnett)
(New York, 1838-1925)
Trained in New York City; worked in New York, Chicago, and New York again, before finally returning to Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871, where he practiced as (Asher) Carter, (William) Drake & Wight; they were instrumental in rebuilding the city, and this experience seems to have inspired Wight (& Drake's) later involvement with fire-proofing, especially of large commercial buildings.
Wight wrote an article "On the Present Condition of Architectural Art in the Western States" published in the short-lived American Art Review, I (1880), 137-43, including several references to Cincinnati. After the gratifying statement that "Cincinnati has always been the best-built city in the West, and can show more business structures of good construction and appropriate exterior design than" Chicago and St. Louis, for instance. He always encourages a new bold simplicity in the design of commercial buildings, citing "Shillito's store in Cincinnati [by J.W. McLaughlin, 1876-1878] [as] the most important store building of the kind that has been erected." On the other hand, Wight describes ironically the lack of use of regional materials: "Thus the granite for the Cincinnati Custom-House [by Cincinnati Alfred B. Mullett; construction superintended by Samuel Hannaford, 1874-1885] is brought from Maine, and stone for the Chicago Custom-House is brought from the vicinity of Cincinnati" (The Cincinnati agent of Sylvester Rose Koehler, editor of the American Art Review, was George McLaughlin, brother of the architect.)
Furthermore, Wight's firm provided the fire-proofing for J.W. McLaughlin's Cincinnati Art Museum, Eden Park (1882-1885), and perhaps other buildings in the Cincinnati area.
Quite early in his career, Wight designed the High Victorian Gothic Thomas P. Jacob house, formerly on Broadway, Louisville, Ky. (1866-1868).
Withey (1956, 1970), 657;
NYCOPAR (1840-1900), 82;
Macmillan Encyclopedia, IV (1982), 397-98 (by Sarah Bradford Landau);
Elizabeth F. Jones and Mary Jean Kinsman, “Unknown Wight Designs in Louisville, Ky." Nineteenth Century, VI, 4 (1980), 57-70.
Willeke, Leonard B.
Listed with The Allyn Co. 1914. Worked for Tietig & Lee, and other Cincinnati firms before moving to Detroit, where he maintained a prestigious practice until his death. Combined an Arts & Crafts approach with a basis in Traditional styles. The subject of a highly-illustrated biography (one of a few such bibliographies on the Cincinnati-based architect) by Thomas Brunk.
Langsam (1997), 4, 93-94, 115-17, 129;
Williams, Charles I. (Insco)
"One of Dayton's most skilled and successful architects," Williams worked primarily in Dayton and the vicinity, although a group of early and tantalizingly "artistic" buildings has been identified in Lexington, Ky.; his designs seem to have been as eclectic as his career.
Williams attended the public schools of Cincinnati and in 1870 was graduated from the Chickering Music Institute there, although his parents had moved to Dayton about 1869. He received technical training at the Troy (now Rensselaer) Polytechnic School (Institute) in Upstate New York, having "from early youth...manifested a strongly developed taste in scientific lines.... In 1873 he was employed in civil engineering along the line of the Northern Pacific railroad, after which he returned to Dayton and for seven years maintained an artist's studio"; this experience and interest is clearly reflected in Williams' early renderings and designs. Having married in 1879, Williams then worked for John Rouzer, a Dayton lumber dealer, before opening his own architectural office in 1882. He soon received commissions and attention in the architectural press: in 1884 he won one of three premiums in the New York periodical Carpentry and Building's 14th competition, for a $1,500 house, with a fairly restrained Shingle Style frame residence, illustrated with a variety of views and details. The American Architect & Building News published at least one Williams perspective, for the Devoe Store & Photographic Studios Building in Urbana, Oh. (XV, 9 [3/1/1884], Plate No. 427). In 1888 Williams, with a partner named Otter, displayed photographs of their Dayton Y.M.C.A. Building and Dayton private residences at the Cincinnati Centennial Exposition; the Y.M.C.A. was a slightly eccentric Richardsonian Romanesque structure. In 1891 Williams, Otter & Dexter are listed in the Inland Architect as designing a $10,000 house in Walnut Hills, Cincinnati; in 1894 Williams alone submitted a competition design for the University of Cincinnati in Clifton (won by S. Hannaford & Sons) described in the AA&BN as "Classic. Design and rendering, fairly good. Plan not much studied, and rendering what the boys in the office would call 'sloppy'."
Also in 1894 Williams seems to have taken as partner Frank M. Andrews, later to become a major hotel promoter, architect, and builder, and designer of the National Cash Register plant in Dayton. They are listed as the designers of additions to the Morrow Co. Courthouse in Mt. Gilead, Oh. (1894); they also designed the lavish, $100,000 Callahan Bank Building in Dayton, still one of the most impressive structures in the downtown area (1894).
In March 1906 Williams competed for the rebuilding of the famous Phoenix Hotel in Lexington, Ky.; the local paper states that he had "planned and supervised the construction of a number of residences in Lexington, including the home of Mr. George K. Graves, Mrs. Lyman Beecher Todd, and of Professor Patterson on Loudon [Avenue]." The homes of these prominent Lexingtonians were identified by W.E. Langsam as a group of extremely mannered, if not downright perverse, Queen Anne/Shingle Style houses with an exaggerated variety of materials and cladding, with elongated and attenuated, interrupted, and stylistically improbable features, dating from the late 1890s; other similar buildings in the Lexington area have been attributed to Williams by Langsam, although they may rather reflect imitation as the sincerest form of flattery.
Williams' major Dayton works included the Stivers Manual Training High School, Algonquin Hotel, Reibold Building, Sacred Heart and Trinity Reformed churches, Insco and Bellevue apartment houses, the Dayton City Club, several schools, and no doubt many dwellings. Williams' own house was essentially octagonal, it had many "artistic" features.
It appears that Williams had several descendants who were also prominent as architects and in related fields in Dayton.
Dayton and Montgomery Co. (ca. 1909), courtesy of John Sullivan, Jr. (1980);
Claudia Watson (1993);
Haverstock (2000), 946-47.
Williams, Eugene D.
Listed as architect in Cincinnati 1873-1880; and as a deceased member of the Cincinnati Chapter of the AIA. Designed the first Mt. Lookout Methodist Church on the SWC of Observatory and Grace avenues in 1880 (later replaced by the present Hyde Park United Methodist Church).
Inland Architect, XXV, 2 (3/1895), 19 (article by George W. Rapp on 25th Anniversary of CAIA).
Wilson, H. (Henry) Neill
(Glendale, Oh., ca. 1855 [Jackson and Gilder: 1853]-1926, Pittsfield, Mass.)
Not listed as an architect in Cincinnati directories. A son of James K. Wilson, born after the latter’s marriage to Virginia Keys (of Glendale) in 1852. According to Jackson and Gilder, p. 285, H. Neill Wilson joined his father‘s firm, [William] Walter & Wilson in 1873. In 1879 he opened his own practice in Minneapolis, Minn. In 1885 he moved to Pittsfield, Mass., where, although he continued to design structures elsewhere, he was responsible for many houses, churches, and public buildings throughout Berkshire County (in western Massachusetts). He designed for neighboring estates straddling the Lenox-Stockbridge line: the Leonard Beckwith Houses (1892), Lakeside (1894), Shadow Brook (1894), and the Orchard (1899). He also designed Interlaken (1894) in Lenox. (All these splendid Berkshire “cottages” are featured in Jackson and Gilder’s highly illustrated book.)
“H.N.W.” was the apparently unpracticed delineator for James W. McLaughlin’s Benjamin H. Cox House (1880s, demolished 2006; the client is not to be confused with George “Boss“ Cox) at the southeast corner of E. McMillan and Highland avenues in Mt. Auburn ca. 1884; since McLaughlin had been trained in the early 1850s by James K. Wilson, it might not be surprising for the son to be have gained experience in the Cincinnati office of his father’s former apprentice.
The earliest work attributed to H.N. Wilson is the tiny Italianate Glendale Town Hall and Police Station of 1871 (replaced as town hall by Hannaford’s existing building). He designed the Richardsonian Romanesque (and largely intact) Glendale Lyceum on Congress Avenue ca. 1891 and the original part of the early Tudor Revival/Arts & Crafts Rookwood Pottery on Mt. Adams 1891-1892 (enlarged shortly after the turn of the 20th century by Elzner & Anderson). He may also have designed or remodeled the William C. Procter House in (or east of) Glendale (also later remodeled by Elzner & Anderson, 1903), but the other known works are (summer) houses in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts in Lenox and Pittsfield; the center of his practice seems to have been the latter.
In Pittsfield: the William Russell Allen House (1885; the Allens were also settlers of Glendale, and commissioned at least one residence—a stone “Jacobethan” Villa included in Langsam’s Great Houses of the Queen City ); the W.P. Burbank House (1887); the William C. [Cooper] Procter House (1889); and an unidentified residence (1888; the rendering for Wilson in AA&BN was delineated by “Burton,” perhaps Matthew H. Burton of Cincinnati).
In Lenox are identified the D.W. Bishop House (1888) and “Shadow Brook,” now known as “Shadow Brook Castle” (1893); the latter was commissioned by Anson Phelps Stokes in 1891 at a cost of one million dollars; it burned in 1956 but was rebuilt for the Society of Jesus with lesser quality of construction (see http://www.dupont castle.com/castles/shadowbr.htm).
Also attributed to Wilson is the 1897 rebuilding of the famous Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Mass., established in 1773, repeatedly enlarged and remodeled but burnt on August 31, 1896; it is possible that Wilson had also been responsible for previous additions in 1892 and 1894 (see http://www.redlioninn.com/history/index.html, and Jackson and Gilder).
Jackson and Gilder (2006);
Painter, AIC (2006), 122, 123;
Nuxhall, SGC, 49, 1.
H. Neill Wilson
Rookwood Pottery, 1891-1892
1077 Celestial, Mount Adams
Within a decade of the opening of this picturesque factory and showroom, Rookwood Pottery became the most prestigious art pottery in the western world.
Wilson, James Keys
(Cincinnati, 1828-1894, Denver, Colo.)
Listed on own 1851, 1864-1879; as (William) Walter & Wilson 1853-1859. Probably the most important (as well as earliest known) Cincinnati-born architect before and after the Civil War, Wilson was singled out by Montgomery Schuyler in his 1908 Architectural Record article for his talent and forward-looking designs. As early as 1876, Wilson's significance was recognized: "Undoubtedly, were the profession [of architecture] called upon to select some one as the best and most worthy representative of architecture in the West, that one would be Mr. Wilson, for to him more than to all others belongs the credit of having introduced and maintained that noble character of building for which Cincinnati is celebrated and of which it is justly proud." James W. McLaughlin and Charles Crapsey were trained in his office. Wilson helped organize the Cincinnati Chapter of the AIA in 1870.
Wilson was born in Cincinnati, but his father became a merchant in Philadelphia, where he was placed "with Mr. Charles H. Mountain, then a prominent architect of the Quaker City." Wilson then moved to New York City, where he worked (apparently for only a couple of years) for both Martin E. Thompson, a leading and innovative architect who worked primarily in the Greek Revival style, and James Renwick, one of the finest and most influential mid-19th-century American architects, best known for the design of the great Gothic Revival St. Patrick Roman Catholic Cathedral on Fifth Avenue, New York, and the Smithsonian Institution's original building on the Mall in Washington, D.C., a monument of the early Romanesque Revival. At the time he was with Renwick, the latter may have been designing the exquisite Grace Episcopal Church near Greenwich Village in New York. There are touches of Renwick's delicacy in the detailing of one of Wilson’s first major buildings in Cincinnati, where he returned in 1848, after a year's residence in Europe to complete his professional studies.
In 1852 Wilson married Virginia Keys, a member of a wealthy and prominent Cincinnati family; shortly afterward he is believed to have designed an Italianate villa (the Keys-Hollister House, now at Keys Crescent) and a Castellated Gothic Villa (the Baker-Mixter House, 1887 Madison Road, off Baker Place), and possibly a residence for himself, on the related Baker family's 30-plus-acre estate in East Walnut Hills. The Keys family was active in the development of Glendale, a National Historic Landmark recognized as the first planned suburban town for railway commuters. Wilson may have been involved in the consciously "rural," curvilinear layout of Glendale (although he has not been credited with it), and seems to have designed a number of the early residences there, including one for himself. In 1858 Wilson again visited Europe.
Wilson was responsible for expanding and sophisticating the range of historic-inspired eclectic styles in Cincinnati before and after the War; his Gothic Revival work also shows extraordinary development between the early 1850s Baker-Mixter House and the late 1860s Shoenberger House, which was designed in an early and highly-evolved High Victorian Gothic manner, as Schuyler recognized.
Wilson's masterpiece is the Plum Street Temple (SEC Plum and Eighth streets, 1864-1866), a National Historic Landmark for both its unique "Byzantine-Saracenic" architecture and its association with Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, founder of Reform Judaism in America.
One of Wilson's last works must have been the original main building of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. (ca. 1877; several commercial and other buildings in Lafayette have been attributed to Wilson by Ben L. Rose). It and the surviving First Presbyterian Church in Ironton, Ohio, also in a rather individual version of the Italianate style, were published in the early volumes of the American Architect & Building News, along with "Scarlet Oaks" (almost ten years after it was completed).
It seems likely that Wilson was the active designing partner in the firm of Walter & Wilson, as William Walter (son of the important Cincinnati architect William Walter) served primarily as the superintendent of construction for Wilson and Walter’s several other partners.
See the Isaiah Rogers Journal (c/o D.P. Myers) for interesting references to Wilson in relation to the Hamilton County Court House, Rogers' visiting the Civil War camp at Camp Dennison in eastern Hamilton Co., apparently designed by Wilson (5/1861); and Rogers' arranging toward the end of his life in 1867 for his son, or grandson, Willard, to work for Wilson.
From Biographical Encyclopedia of Ohio (1876; a contemporary source, in full): “Wilson, James K., Architect, is a native of Cincinnati, where he was born on the 11th of April, 1828. Early exhibiting a decided talent for drawing, his father (then a merchant of Philadelphia) was induced to remove him from Dr. Crawford’s school and to place him with Mr. Charles H. Mountain, then a prominent architect of the Quaker City. With Mr. Mountain, and subsequently with Mr. Martin E. Thompson, of New York, and with Mr. James Renwick, also of New York, he continued till 1847, when a year’s residence in Europe completed his professional studies.
“Returning from Europe in the spring of 1848 he immediately sought out his native city, at once established himself in an excellent practice, and in 1852 was married to Virginia Keys, of Cincinnati. In 1858 he again visited Europe, and from that until the present time has been actively and steadily engaged. Undoubtedly, were the professions called upon to select some one as most worthy representative of architecture in the West, that one would be Mr. Wilson, for to him more than to all others belongs the credit of having introduced and maintained that noble character of building for which Cincinnati is celebrated and of which it is justly proud.
“The buildings erected by Mr. Wilson are too numerous to be here mentioned in detail; we give only the following: The Ohio Life & Trust Company Bank, the Hamilton county [sic] Court House, the Cincinnati Post Office, the Jewish Temple, the villa of George K. Shoenberger [sic], the Dexter Chapel and entrance to Spring Grove Cemetery, etc., etc.”
In Jackson and Gilder’s book on "country cottages" in the Berkshires, there is a fascinating reference by H.N. Wilson to his father, James Keys Wilson. This is one of the extremely rare items that gives some sense of JKW's personality. On p. 153 of Jackson and Gilder, concerning "Shadow Brook," the vast 1894 Anson Phelps and Helen Louisa Phelps Stokes mansion (the largest in America until "Biltmore" was opened slightly over a year later) in Lenox, Mass., which is Shingle Style in all but scale, size (17 "public rooms" on the main floor), and materials, the authors say: "Explaining the meandering layout to the owners' son Anson Phelps Stokes Jr. [sic], [H.N.] Wilson quoted his own architect father [i.e., James K. Wilson of Cincinnati], who preferred to create the effect of an old house that had been added to [rather] than the look of a house that had been built all at once." The source for this anecdote is apparently the unpublished manuscript "Reminiscences" (1956) of Anson Phelps Stokes, Jr., cited in a footnote. Frankly, neither "Woodburn," the Baker-Mixter House in East Walnut Hills, nor "Scarlet Oaks" seems to me to have much of that cumulative character, despite their apparently irregular Picturesque massing. But perhaps there are/were other J.K. Wilson residences that are still unknown. Jackson and Gilder’s biographical sketch of H. Neill Wilson also provides some information on when he worked for/with his father; and that of Boston architect J.P. Rinn, who worked on “Scarlet Oaks” (perhaps as a decorative designer) indicates that Rinn was at least associated with Charles Crapsey (misspelled “Cropsey”), as they submitted a joint competition proposal for the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and may have worked together in Cincinnati.
BEO (1876), 139;
Withey (1956, 1970), 664-65;
Patton (12/1967), 285-93;
Ben L. Rose email (3/16/2007);
Jackson and Gilder (2006), 153, 284, 285;
Langsam (1997), 3, 32-33, 38, 40, 44-45, 64, 70, 72, 87;
Painter, AIC (2006), 31, 34, 54, 55, 57, 69, 78, 81, 82, 83, 103, 123, 125;
Nuxhall, SGC, 49, 1.
James K. Wilson
B’nai Yeshurun/Isaac Mayer Wise/Plum Street Temple, 1864-1867
Plum and Eighth streets
The interior glows with light from original brass chandeliers. Light played a symbolic role at the dedication of the temple. Rabbi Wise ordered the light level kept low until the ceremonies and speeches were completed. Then candles were flamed, illuminating the dramatic interior.
Wilson, Louis Henry
(Newport, Ky., 1857-1935)
Studied at the Ohio Mechanics' Institute; began work with father in 1877, setting up own practice in Newport ca. 1880. Listed in Cincinnati 1890. Works include Newport’s only “skyscraper,“ the Finance Building (demolished ca. 2000), northwest corner Monmouth and Third streets, Newport; several schools, and a number of private homes.
Withey (1956, 1970), 664.
Louisville mid-20th-century architect; with Arrasmith, Elswick, and other firm permutations, designed many sleek Moderne Greyhound bus terminals between 1932 and 1972, including the Cincinnati station formerly at SEC Fifth and Main streets.
Wisenall, Bernard T.
Listed with (Louis G.) Dittoe 1895-1909; on own 1910-1940. Leading Northern Kentucky architect. Dittoe & Wisenall designed the former Covington City Hall, a Richardsonian-Chateauesque building at the south end of the Suspension Bridge, and many other buildings in Northern Kentucky. Their First Christian Church, 14 W. Fifth St., Covington, Ky. (1893-1894), survives somewhat altered; it was erected in a simplified version of the splendid rendering published in The Inland Architect (XXI,11[12/1893]). The firm's major Cincinnati work is the Pugh Power (now [W.H.] Polk) Building, SEC Pike and Fifth streets, said to have been the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world at the time of its construction in 1904-1905; it was enlarged during the original construction campaign in 1906 owing to its initial success, and again in 1909.
Among Wisenall's later works, designed with Chester Disque, were the John G. Carlisle School and the former Fifth District School, both in Covington; both were handsome simplified Art Deco/Moderne designs with broad horizontal stripes in buff and brown brick, and both have recently been altered beyond recognition. Wisenall lived in later years in the historic Hathaway House in West Covington (which may have influenced some of his own Colonial Revival work).
Painter, AIC (2006), 157;
Obituary, Cincinnati Enquirer (7/17/1942), 19:2;
Obituary, Cincinnati Post (7/17/1942), 24:5;
Obituary, Cincinnati Times-Star, (7/17/1942), 28:1.
Woodward, Clifford B.
(Cincinnati, ca. 1878-ca. 1932)
Worked for (Elzner &) (George M.) Anderson, 1897-1901; M.I.T.; with Fred Mueller, Hamilton, Oh., 1903-1904. Like his long-time partner and brother-in-law, Frederick W. Garber, Woodward was educated in Cincinnati and attended M.I.T. under Despradelles; they practiced together ca. 1905-1932; Woodward on his own in 1948. Garber & Woodward, who married sisters, both lived in and were associated with Glendale, Oh.
Langsam (1997), 154;
Marquis, Who’s Who in Ohio (1930);
Painter, Sullebarger, AIC (2006), 152, 193, 215.
Garber & Woodward
Dixie Terminal, 1913-1921
49 East Fourth Street
From the vaulted interior visitors may view the Suspension Bridge and Kentucky skyline.
(born in Hollywood, Cal., 1928)
Son of Lloyd Wright and grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright; in Taliesin fellowship 1948-1956; then worked with father, 1956-1978, probably in the Los Angeles area; practiced on own from 1978 until at least 1995. Supervised construction of F.L. Wright's Tonkens House, Amberly Village (1950s), actually living in Cincinnati for 11 months on the job.
Langsam (1997), 134;
Besinger and O’Gorman (1997), 302.
Wright, Frank Lloyd
(Richland Center, Wisc., 1867-1959)
A Frank Lloyd [sic] "of Chicago" gave a lecture on architecture as a fine art at the Emery Parish House of Christ Church Episcopal ca. 1910, as mentioned in the Western Architect & Builder.
Only the Burton Westcott House in Springfield, Ohio (shown in a superb bird's-eye view in the 191 Wasmuth edition of Wright's early work), represents Wright's early Prairie Style in Ohio, although there were numerous built and unbuilt commissions in the state after World War II. Wright's known work in the Cincinnati area consists of three post-World War II residences, all designed and built in the last decade of "The Master's" long life. The Gerald Tonkens house, Knight and Section roads, Amberley Village (1956), is recognized as one of the best examples of the "Usonian Automatic" or concrete (here cinder) block, version of the type Wright developed for the middle classes before and after World War II. The modest Cedric and Pat Boulter House, Rawson Woods Circle, Clifton (1950s), was designed for a University of Cincinnati classics professor and his wife, whose parents commissioned a unique Wright house in Minneapolis (the Neils House). The third late Wright residence in the Cincinnati area, the William Boswell House in Indian Hill is one of his least known and is said to have been altered in execution. None of these is open to the public.
John deKoven Hill, at one time treasurer of the Taliesin Fellowship, supervised the interior design of the Tonkens House and was later the chief architect and designer for the echt-Wrightian J. Ralph and Patricia Corbett House in Hyde Park.
A house in or near Marysville, Ohio (near Dayton) has been identified by Thomas Heinz.
Macmillan Encyclopedia, IV (1982), 434-48 (by Edgar Kaufmann, Jr.);
Langsam (1997), 2, 5, 62, 74, 91-92, 109, 114-15, 122, 125-27, 134-39, 142, 148;
R.G. Wilson (1984), 170-71 (by Sidney K. Robinson);
Van Vynckt, ed. (1993), I, 997-1003 (by David M. Sokol);
Painter, Sullebarger, AIC (2006), 90, 97, 211, 240.
Painter, AIC (2006), 184.