ARCHITECTURE

A Listing of the ARCHITECTURAL PROJECTS Of 

WM. J. CARPENTER AIA

 For the Period 1888-1930

 From: Guide to the Architectural Projects of Wm. J. Carpenter  2009 ,  Jack Carpenter.

Following the trail of Wm. J. Carpenter’s architectural career has led me to the four corners of the continental United States and even to the Mexican border.  In each of these areas I found he produced and made significant lasting contributions.

During an actual productive career of only about twenty five years he produced over 125 projects.  His designs ranged from small one-bedroom cottages in Daytona during the Depression years to elegant mansions on Millionaires Row in Pittsburgh during the great days of the Steel City.  There was time along the way to design state-of-the-art fireproof hotels, commercial buildings, and even fair grounds.  It is hoped that any readers with more information will share it by adding comments.

This listing of the design projects of Wm. J. Carpenter has been prepared as a reference for researchers of the history of his many buildings, whether for general interest or for registration with Historical agencies.  Hard documentation has been sought out for verification, and has been available in most instances. (References are included in the “Guide—“.)  Those sites with less reliable backup have been noted, and kept open for future addendums or verification.

Chronologically his works have been found to be concentrated in five major geographical areas, and have been grouped accordingly.  Known projects in El Paso, Texas, Spokane, Washington, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and  St. Petersburg, DeLand & Volusia County Florida are listed here. The first known design commission appears in El Paso, Texas in 1887, in partnership with John J. Stewart as Stewart & Carpenter. Later he practiced in Pittsburgh as the senior partner of Carpenter & Crocker and in DeLand in association with Francis H. Bent.  (Bent claimed construction supervision only, giving full credit for designs to Mr. Carpenter.)  In the final months after the“Florida Bust”, as Mr. Carpenter struggled to bring the business to an orderly conclusion, Bent apparently signed some drawings and represented the associates.  Mr. Carpenter worked alone on all other noted designs.

Many of these buildings have been recognized in Historic Districts and several have achieved national and local recognition as Historic Places.  At this time recommendations are pending for several more to be added to the lists.

El Paso, Texas 1886-1888 , In partnership with John Stewart

 1887                 Commercial structure. Merrick Building, 301 South El Paso
Street.

 1887                 The Myar Opera House . 309-317 South El Paso.                             Destroyed by fire in 1905.

MEXICO         A newspaper article in Pittsburgh about 1900 reported that Mr.  Carpenter had practiced and studied in Mexico prior to locating in  Pittsburgh, but no other evidence of this has been found.  His travels and study in Mexico may have been before the practice in El Paso, or after the  practice in Spokane.  There is no further  information available at this time.  Dec. 22, 2014.  Since the original writing of this Blog we have learned a bit more about Mr. Carpenter’s activities during the period from 1890 when he left Spokane until 1898 when he appeared in Pittsburgh.  He had gone  directly from El Paso to Spokane, leaving there about  1890,  The exact dates have not been established, but from his father’s obituary in the Baltimore Sun of September 1, 1896 we find that “A second son, W. J. Carpenter, was formerly an architect and artist, but for a number of years had been associated with a son of Senator Cockrell (Francis M.) , of Missouri, in a large coffee plantation at San Juan Evangelista, in the province of Vera Cruz, Mexico.” There is no indication that he practiced architecture there, but he did learn Spanish and developed an interest in Spanish architecture.

Spokane, Washington 1888-c1890

 1.  Residence for J. A. Currie, 908 W. Frederick, Forest Park.

2.  Residence for Dr. Charles G. Brown, Dennis Bradley’s Addition.716 E. Superior.  Demolished by fire?).

3.  Two-Story building for C. C. Wolf, adjoining American Resort.Destroyed in 1889 fire.

4.  Business block in Browne’s addition. west side, corner Norman   Avenue.

5.  Residence for B. Lowenberg, Lowenberg-Roberts Mansion, 1923 W.   First Avenue (corner First and Pine . Now called the E. J. Roberts Mansion.

6.  Two Cottages for W. T. Whiting. North side, in Whitings Addition.

7.  Residence for Mr. B. C. Van Houten. Corner Second and Chestnut, in Browne’s Addition.

8.  Cottage for Richard Coe.  Fourth & Madison.

9.  Residence for Andrew Smith at 410 W. Second Avenue.

10. J.J. Brown’s  block. (Destroyed in 1889 fire?)

11.  Lowenberg Brothers, corner of Front and Howard Streets. S.E.                    corner Trent & Howard. Most recently Milner Hotel.

12.  E. B. Hyde, store and office. 600 W. Riverside. Demolished.

13.  A. J. Duncan, frame dwelling. 1207 W. 3rd.

14.  M. D. Smith, frame dwelling, double residence.    719 E. Gordon .

15.  Mrs. H. C. Thomas, frame dwelling, double residence

16.  F. Meine, frame dwelling residence.

17.  F. H. Mason, frame dwelling residence.  709 S. Bernard.

18.  circa 1890, Miller Building for Stanley Miller, 808 W. Sprague           Avenue.  Now being operated as Hotel Lusso.

19.  Wilson-Clark Building with Davenport Restaurant, it has also been     known as the Wilson Block, with an address of 805-809 Sprague.  It was       reported as located on the southwest corner of Sprague and Post.

20.  Carlton Building. NW Corner Main & Howard.  Torn Down 1913.

21.  Hotel Touraine. 1000 West Riverside. Demolished.

22.  Joseph Boss House.   176 S. Chestnut. Brown’s Addition.

23)  R. Rosenstock, frame dwelling. Residence.

 

PITTSBURGH  1899-c1920

(In partnership with Henry T. Crocker unless otherwise noted)

Wm. J. Carpenter enjoyed a short, but successful practice in Spokane, Washington with his last listing being in the 1890 City Directory. There are reports, and some evidence that he traveled on the West Coast, through Mexico and perhaps Central America, and to New York City before arriving in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The exact date is not known, but he apparently undertook some commissions under his own name.  Records show that in 1899 with H. T. Crocker he established the firm Carpenter & Crocker, with Carpenter as the senior partner.  The partnership was apparently dissolved in 1914, since thereafter Carpenter and Crocker have different addresses in the City Directories.

Their first recorded building was an 1899 dwelling for Frederick A. Madden on Kedron Street, and subsequent projects included apartment buildings, churches, mansions, and commercial buildings.  They were all within the area of the Pittsburgh office except the Greylock mansion in Chestnut Hill for H. A. Laughlin.

The last building accredited to the partnership was in 1909, but Carpenter maintained an office in Pittsburgh until the late 1910s when he moved with the family to St. Petersburg and started a new practice there.

Dec.1899           7 room brick dwelling on Kedron near Lang for Frederick A. Madden.

1899                      There is a recorded real estate transaction where Carpenter sold to V. Miller a 50 X 97 foot residence, No. 251 Forbes Street, corner. $25,000.  It is not known if this was property he developed or just a buy/sell transaction. (Ref. “The Greater Pittsburgh Reference Book”. Smith. P. 108. Sales of 1899).

Apr., 1900         329 S. Pacific Avenue.  11-unit apartment building.

                                333 S. Pacific Avenue.  11-unit apartment building.

                                337 S. Pacific Avenue.  11-unit apartment building.

July, 1901          Kelly Street, Brushton. 24 brick dwellings for G.C. Blackmore.

July, 1901          Residence at Sewickley for George M. Craig.

Aug., 1901         Two eleven room residences on Beech Street near Maple Avenue.

Oct., 1901         Six brick apartment houses for B.S. Parckard , Darragh Street, Oakland.

1903                 St. James Episcopal Church (Holy Cross Episcopal Church).  Kelly & Collier  Streets, Homewood.

1903                   St. Stephens Church (Proposed/Built)?  There arae two St. Stephens in are, Sewickley and Wilkinsburg.  This one is not Wilkinsburg, so may be Seickley.

April 1904         Frankstown Avenue, Store and apartment building. East End, for F.C. Murdock.

1905                  St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 5801 Hampton Street, Highland Park.

1905                 925 Amberson Avenue.  Residence for Mrs. Edgar (McCook) Reed  (Willis McCook, Principal).  Being renovated for commercial use.

1906                 5105 Fifth Avenue. Willis McCook residence.  Mansion on Fifth.  Being renovated for commercial use.

1906                  6024 Penn Avenue. Lloyd Building.

1907                 Trinity Cathedral Parish House. 322 Sixth Avenue.

1907                 63 Stockton Avenue, Uniontown.  Residence for Frank Crow.

1909                 209 W. Chestnut Hill Avenue (Original address 8838 Crefeld Avenue).  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Greylock Manor. Residence of  Henry A. Laughlin.

1909                 Residence.  8838 Crefeld Street, Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. Original gate house for the Greylock Mansion of  H. K. Laughlin.

1910                 Residence for John D. Bindley. Fifth Avenue near St. James Street, Shadyside.  Demolished. (New information, now being researched)/

ST. PETERSBURG, FL–1920-1926

 The first recorded project in this area was the Central Avenue residence for Mr. MacAdoo about 1923.  There are only a few other works attributed solely to Mr. Carpenter during this period, so he may have been associated with another architect. It has been reported that he kept an office open in St. Petersburg while he was also practicing in DeLand, starting in 1923 with the commission for the Putnam Hotel.  It has also been reported that he “designed the downtown YMCA” in St. Petersburg. Although the records generally attribute it to Mr. Parish it is possible Mr. Carpenter was involved in the design of this large project.

1.         C1923               6340 Central Avenue.    2-story, Mediterranean Revival residence  for Mr. W. MacAdoo.  It was apparently demolished and the 6300 block is now occupied by a commercial building.

2.         C1923               143 13th Avenue N. residence for William & Sarah Straub.

3.         C1923               139 13th Avenue N. Residence for Perry Laughner.

4.         C1923                  133 13th Avenue N.  Residence for Poynter.

5.         C1923               125 13th Avenue N.  Mediterranean Revival Style residence.

6.         C1923               145 14th Avenue N.  Mediterranean Revival Style residence for  William Laughner.

7.        1925                  Espiritu Santo Hotel & Resort. Safety Harbor, FL.

9.         1926?               Carpenter Building. 5400-5412 Florida Avenue, North. Tampa.  The architect of this complex has not been verified, but it has many characteristics similar to those of the Givens Building which Wm. J. Carpenter designed in DeLand about this same time.

10.        c1923               WJC may have also designed four large two-story residences in the  200 block of 13th Avenue N.  They have some recognizable  similarities to the four across the street in the 100 block.

11.        C1922               Sumner Building?  Central Avenue & Seventh Street.  Wm. J. Carpenter had an office in this building in 1924.  If true to form, he  designed it, and then located his office in it for awhile after completion. We know he did this in Pittsburgh, DeLand, and Daytona.

Note: The residence on 14th Avenue N. appears to be of the same style as the four residences on 13th Avenue N.  There may be others in the neighborhood that we are not aware of.  There is also a noticeable similarity between these houses and two on N. Halifax Avenue in Daytona.

There are no records, but at the end of the boom he apparently spent time trying to salvage some of the business and then moved to Daytona Beach.  The Association with Bent  continued for a few months, with Bent continuing to sign drawings and administer the remaining contracts until it was dissolved in 1927-28.

DeLand & Volusia County, Florida 1923-1927

In the 3-4 years he was practicing in DeLand he designed the following commercial buildings, some as the senior partner of Carpenter & Bent:

1.         1923                 Putnam Hotel.  215 W. New York Avenue.  4-story Mediterranean style fireproof hotel of concrete & steel.

2.         1923                 Volusia County Fairgrounds.. Complex with Beaux Arts  style façade and extensive exhibition buildings.

3.         1923                 First National Bank Building (Engineering Building). 101 N.  Woodland Boulevard.  Five-story. DeLand’s first skyscraper.

4.         1924                 Landis-Fish Building renovation.  110 W. Indiana Avenue.

5.         1925                 Masonic Temple. 142 S. Woodland Blvd.  3-story brick, steel  framing, masonry vernacular commercial building.

6.         C1925               Scarlett & Jordan Building. 116 W. Indiana Avenue.  Offices for Joseph  Scarlett II of the Scarlett & Jordan lawfirm.

7.         1925                 Wisconsin Avenue School(Dempsie Brewster).  336  West.  Wisconsin Avenue.

8.         c1926               Givens Block. 210-224 N. Woodland Blvd.  Complex of eight store  fronts.

9.         1927               Cassadaga Hotel.  355 Cassadaga Road,  Cassadaga.   Mediterranean  Revival style.     Still in use.

10.        1926                 Casa McFerrin Hotel, Proposed eight-story hotel. Design had been completed and construction was ready to begin when the Florida land boom collapsed.

11.        1926                 Hotel for Orlando. Proposed.  Unknown location in Orlando, Florida.  Design had been completed and construction was ready to begin when the Florida land boom collapsed.

SCHOOLS IN VOLUSIA COUNTY

In addition to the commercial building projects, Wm. J. Carpenter worked closely with the prominent educational leaders during the 1920s to construct the infrastructure for the rapidly expanding Volusia County public school system.  During that time, under the direction of the Board of Public Instruction he designed and oversaw construction and upgrading of some eleven schools:

1.         1923     Seville   US HWY 17, Seville, Florida. Frame.

Seville School

2.         1923     Enterprise High 2-story addition.

3.         1924     Pierson. US Highway 17. Addition of room and auditorium to existing frame  vernacular building.

4.         1924     Holly Hill. 1049 Ridgewood Boulevard.

 5.        1924     Port Orange. 402 Dunlawton Avenue.  On National Register of Historic Places.

6.         1925     Live Oak Grammar. Corner of Second Street & Live Oak. Demolished.

7.         1925     Wisconsin Ave. School. 336 West Wisconsin Avenue.  Also known as Dempsie Brewster school above.

8.         1926     Pierson             W. First Avenue and US17.  Spanish style stucco.

9.         1926     Bonner Elementary   868 George W. Egram Blvd. (aka Cypress Street Elementary) On National Register of Historic Places.

10.        1926     Seabreeze Elemen.   801 North Wild Olive Avenue.                Now operated as Riverview Learning Center.

11.        1926     Volusia Avenue School.   640 Volusia Avenue. Mediterranean Revival style.  Demolished 1988.

Other possible buildings in Volusia County attributable to WJC:

1.         Proposed Congregational Church.  Mentioned in DeLand Sun News article at time  of Masonic Temple dedication.

2          Clark Building, DeLand.  South Woodland Boulevard & Georgia Avenue. ( I have been told that it was “designed by same architect as Masonic Temple” but have  not   been able to verify).

3          Chappell Residence, 978 Marion Street, Cassadaga (Lake Helen).Built 1926, this building has many architectural features similar to the Cassadaga Hotel and to the residences on 13th Avenue N. in St. Petersburg. (Not verified).

 4.          Two residences on N. Halifax (822-824 N. Halifax) in Daytona Beach. (One was also residence of WJC in 1930s).

5.         Small Cottage. Daytona Beach.

6.         Small Country Cottage. Daytona Beach.

CREDITS

During my research on this project there have been many great personal encounters. I have had the pleasure of being a guest at the E. J. Roberts Mansion (WJC design) in Spokane where I met Linda Yeomans, a Preservation Consultant and dedicated student of Mr. Carpenter’s work in Spokane; and also owner Mary Moltke, who has dedicated many years to the restoration of this gem. The owner’s of the Masonic Temple (another WJC design) in DeLand have twice made it available as a gallery for the exhibition of his watercolor paintings. Just recently I have had the opportunity to work with Diana Ames on the preparation of the Recommendation for Nomination of the Fifth Avenue Mansion (McCook Mansion) in Pittsburgh to the National Register of Historic Buildings; she continues to furnish great leads to other Carpenter buildings (It was her lead that placed Mr. Carpenter in El Paso, Texas, an unknown phase in his career.  I have also been involved in furnishing information for the Recommendation of the Seville School in Seville, Florida.

While developing this reference listing I have met some wonderful helpful people who have encouraged and assisted me in my personal Odyssey. Some were fleeting contacts, and some stepped up to bat and did extensive research for me. Never realizing that the project would grow as it has, I did not keep detailed records of my sources, so cannot cite specific sources in detail. I am sure the list here is not complete, but all contributed in one way or another, and their efforts are gratefully acknowledged and appreciated. Each and every one has helped to establish that Wm. J. Carpenter will have his place in history as The UnForgotten Man.

My heartfelt thanks to all those who have taken an interest in this project and contributed to it. In no particular order they include: Liz Jarvis, Linda Yeomans, Mary Moltke, Jane Davey, Diana Ames, Michael Eversmeyer, Mary Ellen Leigh, Thomas Mellon and Susan Schmidt, Troy Ainsworth, Francis McNeil, Joe O’Connor, Bill Dreggors, Sidney Johnston, Tom Baskett, Pat Hatfield, Terri Nelson, Arthur Louderback, Robert Price, Edie Dixon, and Albert Tannler.

RESOURCES

El Paso, Texas 1. “Historic American Buildings Survey, No. TX-3309.
2. Emails from Troy M. Ainsworth, Ph.D., Historic Preservation Officer, El Paso, Texas
3. Emails from Diana Ames.

Spokane, WA   1. Jan. 1, 1889-July 7, 1889 Spokane Falls Review
2. Jan. 1, 1890, page 16, Spokane Falls Review
3. Spokane Skyline: A Century of Architecture, 1889-1989
4. The Spokesman-Review;Spokane Review,June 21, 1914?Unnamed reference, No. 4-3 Et al.

5. Spokane’s Legendary Davenport Hotel, Tony & Suzanne Bamonte . Also Historical survey furnished by Linda Yeomans.
6. Historical Preservation listing furnished by Linda Yeomans. Refers to S.F.R. 8/5/1898, Chron, 8/4/1890 & S-R Feb 4, 1913, page 7:1
7. Historic Preservation Listing furnished by Linda Yeomans. References S.F.R.8/5/1890, Chron.8/4/1890, S-R.9/14/1909, page 1:5.

Pittsburgh, PA 1. Many Emails from Diana Ames

2. Trinity Cathedral Archives; Trinity & Pittsburgh, Helen Harris; “The Architecture” Trinity Cathedral.

3. J. W. Carpenter

4. Wm. J. Carpenter

5. Michael Eversmeyer

6. Many news media references

7. St. James Episcopal Church History, Mary Ellen Leigh

8. Pittsburgh Portrait, Tolkov

9. “TheEast End,Pittsburgh, Board of Trade Publication”?

10. “Historic Pittsburgh Landmarks”, Walter Kidney

11.PittsburghDigital Library

St.Petersburg,
Florida 1. Florida Master Site Files

2. Polk’s 1922, p. 200

3. Polk’s 1924, p. 290,802

4. Emails from Joe O’Connor

5. Biographical sketch of Wm. J. Carpenter, Sidney Johnston 1995

DeLand&
VolusiaCounty
Florida 1. A Century of West Volusia County 1860-1960. Dreggors & Hess.
2. A Field Guide to DeLand Buildings .WVHS. 2008. Edited by Jackie Kersh.
3. Wm. J. Carpenter, the UnForgotten Man, The DeLand Architect. J. W. Carpenter. Unpublished.
4. Wm. J. Carpenter, the UnForgotten Man-The Artist, J. W. Carpenter. Unpublished.
5. The Odyssey of an American School System, Volusia County Schools, 2000.
6. The Compendium of American Genealogy, Virkus. 1930.
7. Conrad Museum. William Dreggors, Director.
8. Halifax Museum, Daytona
9. Polk’s City Directories for various years.
10. Volusia County School Board Archives.

END OF LISTING OF PROJECTS

Researchers with additional information are requested to submit it as a Comment or email it to Jack.  Any new additional information will be included in a future edition.

WILLIS McCOOK MANSION PITTSBURGH

June 21, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Posted in Architecture, Pittsburgh | 4 Comments | Edit this post

WJ Carpenter Archival Photo

 One of the most elegant and impressive residences in Pittsburgh was designed by Carpenter & Crocker in 1906-07 for Mr. Willis McCook, a prominent attorney and socalite.  Located at 5105 Fifth Avenue in a section still known as Millionaire’s Row the lasting acceptance of the Elizabethan style speaks well of the diverse capability of Mr. Carpenter.

 As recently as five years ago the historical significance and contemporary potential of this building remained virtually unrecognized.  After the McCook family lost it in the 1930s it had suffered for some years as an apartment building and  it was only due to publicity after a disastrous fire in the upper floors in 2004 that its importance and value to the community became apparent. The potential loss of this landmark of Pittsburgh’s gilded era was recognized and the efforts of many agencies and individuals culminated in plans for a major preservation program.

  2002 photograph before the fire shows little change to the exterior of the building from 1927. Photo by Jack Carpenter.

 It is now nearing a new life as an elegant boutique hotel and spa to be known as the MANSIONS ON FIFTH, with a planned opening for October, 2010. An adjacent mansion at 925 Amberson Avenue also designed by Carpenter and Crocker as a residence for Willis McCook’s daughter Bessie will become an integral part of the MANSIONS ON FIFTH complex with the two combined buildings showcasing 23 rooms and suites.

I had planned extensive coverage of this building for the future, but current activities concerning it are developing so fast I feel interim coverage is necessary. As time permits I will bring you more details on the history of these structures and their architectural significance.

 Wonderful comprehensive photo coverage of some of the architectural details may be viewed by clicking here.

 On the website rhonaldangelo   last year the mansion was described as “…a magnificent example of a historically renovated home …The renovation revealed a scale and splendor of an elite Jacobean mansion as it was built in 1907….The architectural firm, Carpenter and Crocker, created a world of opulence with oak-paneled walls in the great hall, tall amber stained-glass windows, and a grand staircase.  A neoclassical parlor with fluted ionic pilasters and a dining room with a plasterwork pendant ceiling are rooms that will be enjoyed by visitors to this preserved mansion…”

  There is a pending recommendation for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Buildings.

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  1. […] Architecture […]

  2. Please be patient. I’m, having to learn how to edit my work in Word Press. I will make this more readable as soon as I can. Jack

  3. Per ST. PETERSBURG houses #2 thru #6 — adding some background. In a self-published book (“Mamaw’s Memoirs”) written by a resident of the neighborhood, Mattie Lou Cherbonneaux wrote that her father had been awarded a contract by Peter Laughner to build “about eight mansions” on 13th and 14th Avenues between 1st and 4th Streets N. The Laughner family occupied some of these homes including #6, and others were probably built on spec. Although their identities are not known, based on similarities, the “eight mansions” are probably recognizable. The five mentioned in this list were built from the same basic plans. The other three are much larger, but have very similar exterior architectural elements to each other and to the five smaller houses. One of the largest of these three houses was owned by the Laughner family patriarch. Given his role in designing five of the houses, I would not be surprised if WJC had a design role in the three larger houses.

    • Sorry it took me so long to approve this, but it was classified as ‘spam’ for some reason and I did not know how to handle it. Thanks for the additional background and I hope it will evoke some futher verification from some of the old-timers in St. Petersburg. Also, I would like to get an original postcard of the scene of your house on the corner if you ever run across one. Keep in touch, Jack.

  4. Hello Jack,

    Nice to hear from you. I’ve had little time for architectural research lately. However, I did recently come across this note in the American Architect (Sept. 1906) “Architects Carpenter & Crocker, Lloyd Building, East End will design the bathhouse and natatorium to be erected by the Civic Club in Fifth Avenue. Cost $75,000.”

    Cheers,

    Diana

    • Hello Diana,

      Thanks for the tip. That’s a new one, and I will have to look into it. Maybe some other reader can give us some help. Jack

  5. […] Architecture […]

  6. Jack,
    Congratulations on your blog, which I think is a touching and inspiring tribute to your grandfather’s legacy. I included a link to your blog in my recent submission of the Landis-Fish building historical marker to the Historical Marker Database (www.hmdb.org).

    • Thanks, Glenn, Let me know how you make out on the historic marker project. Jack


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