PITTSBURGH AREA

Updated Dec. 25, 2015

When I first started researching the architectural career of Wm. J. Carpenter AIA  in the Pittsburg area I found accreditation for only two projects, the McCook mansion on Fifth Avenue and the Trinity Cathedral Parish House, discussed in Pittsburgh Landmark Architecture by Walter Kidney.  With the help of the internet and many dedicated researchers a great deal more information was documented a n extensive career was documented for the period 1898-1920.  Albert Tannler of the Pittsburgh History and Landmark Foundation has provided us with the following comprehensive summary of their findings :

P Carpenter & Crocker  [Pittsburgh c. 1903-09]

William J. Carpenter [Pittsburgh: 1899-1900; 1903-1909; 1913-1914, 1916]
Henry I. Crocker [Pittsburgh: 1899-1914]
William James Carpenter (1864-1953)1 was born in London, England, where, at the age of 13,
he began an architectural apprenticeship. Carpenter and his family arrived in the USA in 1878
and settled in Baltimore. He worked as a draftsman in the office of Edmund G. Lind, eventually
practicing as an architect in Baltimore until 1885. He subsequently worked in El Paso, Texas;
Spokane, Washington; Pittsburgh; and Florida.2
William Carpenter [architect, bds 305 Oakland Ave.] is first listed in a Pittsburgh city directory
in 1899. Henry I. Crocker (b.1873)3 was a nephew of architect Henry P. Kirby of Kirby, Petit
and Greene, New York City. He also first appears [architect, bds 168 N. Craig] in 1899. In
1900 Carpenter is at 234 N. Craig and Crocker at 168 N. Craig. In 1900-1901, Carpenter
designed apartment buildings in Friendship, Allegheny City, and Oakland.4 Carpenter is not
listed in the 1901 directory; Henry Crocker, designer, is at 937 Lilac Street, Greenfield. The
firm of Carpenter & Crocker first appears in 1903; Carpenter is living in Edgewood. By 1906,
Carpenter is living in Beaver, Pa. In 1906, Carpenter & Crocker built the Lloyd Building, 6024
Penn Avenue, East Liberty, and moved their office into Room 410.
Carpenter & Crocker exhibited 17 designs [Nos. 156-172] at the Pittsburgh Architectural
Club’s Fourth Annual Exhibition (November, 1907): 8 designs for the Willis F. McCook house,
Pittsburgh [one was illustrated in the catalogue, n.p.]; 2 designs for the W. E. Reed house,
Pittsburgh; Frank R. Crow house, Uniontown, Pa.; the People’s Baths, Pittsburgh; the Fifth
Avenue Public Baths, Pittsburgh; St. James’ Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh; Trinity Episcopal
Church [now Trinity Cathedral] parish house, Pittsburgh; and 2 designs for St. Andrew’s
Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh [21].
The firm was last listed in the Pittsburgh city directory in 1909. Crocker practiced alone in the
Lloyd Building until 1914; Carpenter is not listed in the 1910, 1911, and 1915 directories. He
is listed in 1912 as working as a notary and as an architect in 1913 and 1914. His last listing is
in 1916, with an office at 610 Highland Building, East Liberty (white pages and classified), and
residing at 363 Spahr Street in Shadyside. Carpenter subsequently moved to Florida.
Selected Works:
William J. Carpenter5 [?]
Frederick Madden residence [7152] Kedron Street, Homewood,18996
Apartment building, 329 S. Pacific Avenue, Friendship, 19007
Apartment building, 333 S. Pacific Avenue, 19008
Apartment building, 337 S. Pacific Avenue, 1900
George Craig residence, [860-862 Thorn Street], Sewickley, Pa., 1901 (demolished)
Carpenter & Crocker
St. James Episcopal Church, Kelly and Collier Streets,9 Homewood, 1903
Trinity Cathedral Parish House, Oliver Avenue, 1905
St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 5801 Hampton Street, Highland Park, 1905-09
Lloyd Building, 6024 Penn Avenue, 190610
Mrs. W. Edgar (McCook) Reed residence, 925 Amberson Avenue, 1905
Willis F. McCook residence, 5105 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, 1906
Frank R. Crow residence, 63 Stockton Avenue, Uniontown, Pa., 1907
Peoples’ Bath House (Civic Club), 1534 Penn Ave., c. 190711 (demolished)
Soho Bath House (Civic Club), 2410 Fifth Avenue, 190812
Henry A. Laughlin gatehouse and residence, “Greylock,” 8838 Crefeld Avenue/209 W.
Chestnut Hill Ave., Philadelphia, Pa, 1909
Bibliography:
“An Unforgotten Man: William James Carpenter, AIA,” http://www.jackncb.wordpress.com
Historic Pittsburgh http://digital.library.pitt.edu/pittsburgh
http://www.philadelphiabuildings.org
Pittsburgh city directories 1899-1916 (available online at Historic Pittsburgh website:
http://digital.library.pitt.edu/pittsburgh)
“Interior and exterior renderings, St. James’ Memorial Church.” Western Architect 2
(November 1903): Plate following page 24.
“Competitive Designs for St. Stephen’s Church (Episcopal), Wilkinsburg, Pa.” Western Architect
2 (November 1903): 106-107.13
[Willis McCook residence] Construction 3:2 (January 13, 1906): 29.
“Carpenter and Crocker.” Pittsburgh Board of Trade. Uptown, Greater Pittsburgh’s Classic
Section: East End, the World’s Most Beautiful Suburb. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Board of Trade,
printed by Stewart Bros., 1907: 34.
Pittsburgh Architectural Club Fourth Annual Exhibition Catalogue 1907. Pittsburgh:
Pittsburgh Architectural Club, 1907: 21; one unnumbered illustration.
Kidney, Walter C. Pittsburgh’s Landmark Architecture: The Historic Buildings of Pittsburgh and
Allegheny County. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, 1997: 234, 287.
Carpenter, Jack. “A Guide to the Architectural Projects of Wm. J. Carpenter AIA for the Period
1888-1930.” (2011)
Albert M. Tannler
Additional information contributed by Lu Donnelly and Martin Aurand
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, 2011
1 See website of Jack Carpenter, W. J. Carpenter’s grandson: http://www.jackncb.wordpress.com
2 For projects in these various cities, see http://www.jackncb.wordpress.com. Jack Carpenter mentions possible
commissions in Mexico and California. The profile on the firm in “Carpenter and Crocker,” Pittsburgh
Board of Trade, Uptown, Greater Pittsburgh’s Classic Section: East End, the World’s Most Beautiful
Suburb (Pittsburgh 1907) adds New York City: “Mr. W. J. Carpenter, the senior member of the firm is a
native of London, England, where he imbued much of that atmosphere of ecclesiastical architecture that
has made that ‘tight little island’ famous from the days of Sir Christopher Wren. He had done
considerable work in Baltimore and New York city before taking up his career in Pittsburg” [34]. This is
available on http://digital.library.pitt.edu/pittsburgh.
3 1900 Census gives Crocker’s birth date as August 1873; he and his parents were born in Pennsylvania.
4 Crocker is listed in city directories in 1901 and 1902, but Carpenter is not.
5 Commissions listed in Jack Carpenter, “A Guide to the Architectural Projects of Wm. J. Carpenter AIA
for the Period 1888-1930.” (2011)
6 Either altered or replaced.
7 Porch removed. All three buildings are included in the Friendship folder, Allegheny County Historic
Sites Survey 1979-84.
8 Porch removed.
9 Now Holy Cross Episcopal Church
10 Now 100 Sheridan Square; the building has been enlarged. It is a contributing structure in the East
Liberty Commercial National Register District.
11 Pittsburgh Architectural Club Exhibition Catalogue 1907, 21.
12 American Architect, September 1906. National Municipal League/American Civic Association. “Civic
Club of Allegheny County.” Manual of The Civic and Charitable Organizations of Greater Pittsburgh and
of the Higher Educational Institutions, With a Brief Review of Mayor Guthrie’s Administration
(Pittsburgh: A.W. McCloy, 1908): 42-44.
13 George Nattress & Son of Philadelphia won the competition. See Philadelphia Real Estate Record and
Builders’ Guide 18:33 (March 19, 1903), 529, http://www.philadelphiabuildings.org. The church is located at
600 Pitt Street, Wilkinsburg.

The evidence  indicates that Mr. Carpenter was the senior partner of Carpenter and Crocker and the lead designer.  He has been generally given credit for all of the design work of the firm, with  support by Crocker, about whom very little information is available.

We have been able to find images of most of these buildings, and extensive text which attests to the versatility and integrity of Mr. Carpenter’s work, and it is covered briefly in the following articles about each project. Although he reportedly resided at several places in Pittsburg, it is probable that this was to allow him to be  close to his work and offices during the week while the family of wife and four sons maintained the family  residence in Beaver.

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