Builders

In the early development of Clinton, most of the building design was done by builders and contractors.  It was not until the later part of the nineteenth century that architects were commonly employed for the design of buildings.  There were many architects who worked in Clinton as they were attracted by employment with the Curtis Company; however, only some of them were successful in practicing architecture privately.  The major architectural figures in Clinton’s building history are identified in the following biographies.  The chart that accompanies this section identifies the known architects who practiced privately in Clinton. 

WALDEN AND SMITH: The earliest (1858) known architectural firm in Clinton was Walden and Smith, Architects and Builders, whose office was on 5th Avenue (South) between 2nd and 3rd Streets.  In 1859, W. D. Walden was in charge of construction of Clinton's first railroad bridge over the river to Little Rock Island. 

W. W. SANBORN:  W. W. Sanborn of Lyons was the architect of the first courthouse in Clinton after it became the county seat in 1869.  Sanborn designed the frame, Italianate Style building in two weeks and contractor L. P. Haradon built the structure in thirty days.  In 1879, Sanborn designed a three-story, brick and stone County Asylum.  Originally in the insurance business, Sanborn was active in civic affairs.  He was President of the School Directors for Lyons in 1857, and was instrumental in getting three schools built (which he undoubtedly designed and all of which are no demolished).  These were: Central School, 1858, of brick; South School, 1873, of brick; and, North School, 1874.

            Three structures known to be work of Sanborn survive, but only one, a house at 2203 North 2nd Street, (104), retains any resemblance to the original design.  The remaining two structures, the Lamb House (19) at 317 7th Avenue South, have been drastically altered or rebuilt.  (Pictured is a view, c. 1886, of C. Lamb & Sons lumber mill office (140), now drastically altered.)

JOSIAH L. RICE: Josiah L. Rice was born in Massachusetts in 1854.  His family moved to Minnesota when he was nine years old.  He practiced architecture in Davenport, Iowa for eight years before coming to Clinton in 1880 as a draftsman for the Curtis Company.  He may have been involved in the design of the Curtis Houses (8 and 9) at 417 and 420 5th Avenue South, as it has been documented that he was the architect for the coach houses on each property.  In 1893, J. L. Rice became the supervising architect for the construction of the County Court House (79) and he opened his own independent practice.

            In 1903, when Rice became a government employee, he sold his practice to John Morrell.  Following is a list of the buildings known to dates, which are included in this book: 

Book I.D. No. Address and/or Building Date
(6) 242-246 5th Avenue South, Jacobsen Building/Lamb Block (Pictured above) 1886
(8a) 417 5th Avenue South, C. Curtis coach house c. 1885
(9a) 420 5th Avenue South. G. M. Curtis coach house c. 1885
(15) 430 7th Avenue South, James Adams House c.1886
(20) 520 9th Avenue South, St. Mary’s Church 1884
(21) 516 9th Avenue South, St. Mary’s Rectory 1896
(25) 240 4th Avenue South, St. John’s Episcopal Church 1898
(37) 721 South 2nd Street, Moeszinger-Marquis Hardware 1898
(54) 620 South 4th Street, 1st Baptist Church 1888
(55) 600 South 4th Street, Clinton High School 1888-1889
(79) 612 North 2nd Street, County Court House 1893
(94) 2119 Garfield, Leedham House/Boardman House 1888
(95) 2208 Garfield house 1898
(126) 2804 North 2nd Street, Justus Lund House 1895

Other building in Clinton to have been designed by Josiah Rice are: 

Address and/or Building Date
101 5th Avenue South, Shoecraft & Son 1892
443-445 8th Avenue South, duplex c. 1900
2214 Roosevelt, Peter Petersen House 1898
59 Main Avenue, P. O. Block/C. G. McMahon Building c. 1899

ARCHITECTS WHO LIVED AND HAD A PRIVATE PRACTICE IN CLINTON (AND LYONS) 

Walden & Smith, Berrian, C., DeForest, B., Sanborn, W. W., Blakely, Frederick, Rice, Josiah L., Morrell, John & Son, Morrell, John, Ladehoff, J. H., Work, N. P., Sohn, Frank, Ladehoff & Sohn, Wood., J. C., Bort, Walter Earl, Green, E. E., Morrell, A. H., Morrell & McCann, Morrell, A. H. & Assoc., Prout, C. U., McCann, A. H. & Assoc., McCann, Prout & Assoc., Prout, Mugasis, Johnson, Johnson, R. L. M. & Assoc., Feddersen, Phil

JOHN MORRELL AND SON/ A. H. MORRELL:  In 1903, John Morrell, a Chicago contractor and self-styled architect, bought J. L. Rice’s architectural practice and moved to Clinton.  In 1904, his son, A. H. Morrell, joined his father and the firm became John Morrell and Son.  A. H. Morrell was trained as an architect and studied at the Armour Institute of Technology and The Art Institute of Chicago.  He had worked for Nimmons and Fellows, Architects, of Chicago.  Nimmons and Fellows were architects who shared the “modern” design philosophy and the design approach of the “Prairie School”, the movement led by Frank Lloyd Wright, with Louis Sullivan as an instrumental figure.  Some of A. H. Morrell’s designs in Clinton could be considered to be Prairie School-inspired, although they tend to be more formal and traditional.

            John Morrell and Son’s early work was eclectic in design but their later work was greatly simplified and closer in feeling to the Prairie School Movement.  In 1917, A. H. Morrell ceased the practice of architecture and organized the Clinton Refrigeration Company.  A year later, his architectural practice was sold to J. C. Wood.  Morrell’s action paralleled that of other Chicago Prairie School architects, who also dropped form the scene at about the same time.

In 1927, A. H. Morrell resumed an architectural career and continued to practice in Clinton until 1953.  A. H. McCann, who became Morrell’s partner in 1949, continued the firm as A. H. McCann and Associates.  Among the commissions of John Morrell and Son, Architects, the following are included in this book:

Book I.D. No. Address and/or Building Date
(3) 217 5th Avenue South, Wilson Building 1912-1914
(4) 226 5th Avenue South, 1st National Bank 1911-1912
(10) 431 5th Avenue South, A. G. Smith House 1914-1915
(12) 516 5th Avenue South, H. W. Seaman House 1904
(43) 503-511 South 2nd Street, Donlan-Redden Co. (Pictured above) 1914
(58) 740 5th Avenue South, H. A. Kelly House 1910
(60) 823 5th Avenue South, T. J. Hudson House 1914
(61) 844 5th Avenue South, Fred Van Allen House 1911
(71) 1100 Woodlawn, J. B. Charlton House 1910
(163g) 94 Main Avenue, 1st National Bank of Lyons 1907

            The following buildings in Clinton were also designed by John Morrell and Son: 

Address and/or Building Date
121 5th Avenue South, T. M. Gobbel Company 1916
123 5th Avenue South, Pinney Printing Company 1916
215 5th Avenue South, Wilson Addition 1915
300 5th Avenue South, YMCA 1905
212-214 4th Avenue South, Wurster Building 1914
40 4th Avenue South, Clinton Boat Club 1912-1913
1049 7th Avenue south, Franklin School 1908
308 South Bluff Boulevard, Chase Home 1911
2300 Pershing Boulevard, Community Congregational Church 1906

            The following buildings were designed by A. H. Morrell after he resumed an architectural practice in 1927, and are included in this book: 

Book I.D. No. Address and/or Building Date
(63) 751 2nd Avenue South, Associate Architect for Washington School 1935
(69)

638 South Bluff, Jane Lamb HospitalAddition

1928

Additional buildings designed during this period include:

Address I.D. No. Date
123 5th Avenue South, Remodeling, Pinney Printing Company 1930
344 3rd Avenue South, Central Fire Station 1938
810 South 3rd Street, Kelly Manufacturing 1928 

JOHN LADEHOFF: Clinton architect, John Ladehoff, maintained an office from about 1907 to 1915 and was in partnership with Frank Sohn from about 1915 to 1917.  Ladehoff eventually moved to Davenport, Iowa to take a position with the Rock Island Sash and Door Company.  Ladehoff’s brother, Gus, was a contractor whose firm, Clinton Engineering Company, still exists.  A building of importance in this book built by Gus Ladehoff was the Pahl Building (45), c. 1916, at 402-406 South 2nd Street.  Sources indicate that the building was also designed by Gus Ladehoff but the Sullivanesque design may very well have been the work of his brother, John.  Among the buildings know to have been designed by John Ladehoff are: the Orpheum Theater, built in 1907, at 218 6th Avenue South; and, the Langan Building, built in 1914, at 317-325 South 2nd Street. 

NIS PETER WORK: Born in Germany in 1861, Nis Peter work came to America in 1880 and to Clinton in 1884.  He became a general contractor and studied architecture through the International Correspondence Schools.  He maintained an architectural office in Clinton from about 1910 to 1921, and he worked for the Curtis Company as well.  He designed two structures in Fairfield, Iowa: the First United Presbyertian Church and the F. W. Jericho House.  The following know projects designed by work in Clinton are: (159a) P. C. Wulf Building, 122 South 4th Street, built in 1910-1911; and, Dane Hall, 214-216 North 4th Street, c. 1911. 

J. C. Wood: J. C. Wood maintained an architectural office in Clinton after he bought the practice of John Morrell and Son in 1918.  Wood was mostly self-taught and gained experience through architectural apprenticeship.  The known buildings by Wood include: Clinton Fire Department #2, 300 10th Avenue South, built in 1923; Longfellow School, 1820 Iowa, built in 1927; and Irving School, 520 16th Avenue South, built in 1923-1924. 

WALTER E. BORT: Walter E. Bort (1898-1954) was from Kansas and moved to Detroit, Michigan to apprentice with the architectural firm of Smith, Hinchman and Gryllis.  He came to Clinton about 1920 to take a position with the Curtis Company.  In 1922, he opened his own architectural office and soon started building his own home and studio (67), which he continued to change and expand over the years.  This complex is extremely handsome with its use of native stone and sensitivity to the site and landscaping.  Bort was a talented designer who, like most of his peers, used eclectic forms and styles.  Among the buildings designed by Bort, the following are included in this book: 

Book I.D. No. Address and/or Building Date
(13) 213 6th Avenue South, VFW/Iowa National Guard 1947-1948
(36) Riverview Park, Municipal Swimming Pool 1929
(67) 722-732 South 12th Street, W. E. Bort’s Stone Tower Studio 1923-1953

Other buildings designed by Bort in Clinton are: 

Address and/or Building Date
900 5th Avenue South, Frank Dana House 1924
1001 Crescent Drive, John Wolf House 1926
318 Main Avenue, Central School 1925
Castle Terrace, Otto Kern House 1925 

PHIL H. FEDDERSEN: A native of Clinton and a graduate of Iowa State University in Ames, Phil Feddersen gained his work experience with Alden Dow of  Midland, Michigan before opening his own architectural firm in Clinton 1959.  Like Dow, Feddersen has been strongly influenced by the later work of Frank Lloyd Wright.  Many of Feddersen’s designs exhibit the “organic” design philosophy of Wright.  Three “new buildings by Feddersen are included in this book.  These are: 

Book I.D. No. Address and/or Building Date
(46) 308 South 2nd Street, Roehl/Phillips Furniture 1960
(85)

405 Oakhurst Drive, Dorothea McGauvran House

1963
(154) 3800 Lakewood Drive, Harold Bendixen House 1961

OTHER ARCHITECTS: Other architects known to have had commissions in Clinton and whose work is included in the book are: 

Book I.D. No.    ARCHITECT/PROJECT/ADDRESS/DATE

(1)         Louis Sullivan of Chicago, Illinois/VanAllen Building/200 5th Avenue South/ 1914

(2)         Harold Holmes of Chicago, Illinois/Ankeny Building/210-211 5th Avenue South/1930

(7)         James Knox Taylor, Supervising Architect; Louis Simon, Architect/Post Office/301 5th Avenue South/1901

(18)     Patton & Miller of Chicago/Public Library/1903-1904

(23)   Coolidge & Hodgon of Chicago, Illinois/First Presbyterian Church/1927-1928

(24)   W. Pashley/Universalist/Sacred Heart/316 South 4th Street/c.1870 and 1871

(34)     Leonard Crunelle, Sculptor/Memorial Flagpole/1930 

(47)     Sidney J. Osgood of Grand Rapids, Michigan/First United

Methodist Church/1902

(63)     Karl Keffer & Earl E. Jones of Des Moines, Iowa /Washington  Junior High School/1935

(69)     Schmidt, Garden & Martin of Chicago, Illinois/Jane Lamb Memorial Hospital/1923

(72)     Trowbridge & Ackerman of Boston, Massachusetts/Eugene J. Curtis House/Hillcrest Street/1921      

(74)   Al Mugasis of Prout, Mugasis & Johnson of Clinton, Iowa/Brice Oakley House/1 Heather Lane/1970

(79)     G. Stanley Mansfield of Freeport, Illinois/Court House/1892

(80)     Durrant, Deininger, Dommer, Kramer, Gordon of Dubuque, 

Iowa/Clinton County-City Law Enforcement Center/1970

(84)     J. B. McGorrick of Des Moines, Iowa/Mount St. Clare/1910

(86)     William Nowysc of Iowa City, Iowa/Robert Evans House/551 Woodlands Drive/1974

(95)     J. Kingsten/Willis Parker/Thomas Leedham House/1959

(115)  Harry Harbeck of Illinois/Iowa State Savings Bank/1914

(133)  Martin Heer of Dubuque, Iowa/St. Boniface Catholic Church/1908

CAPSULE BIOGRAPHIES OF OTHER ARCHITECTS: 

LOUIS SULLIVAN: The most important architect to have a commission in Clinton was Louis Sullivan.  Sullivan (1856-1924) was born in Boston, Massachusetts; worked in Philadelphia; and then, in 1873, went to Chicago where commissions were plentiful after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.  He became a partner of Dankmar Adler, and the firm of Adler and Sullivan became one of the most prestigious in Chicago, with such important commissions as the Auditorium theater and Hotel; Chicago Stock Exchange; and, in St. Louis, the Wainwright Building.  The famous American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, studied under Sullivan.

            After Sullivan and Adler dissolved their partnership, Sullivan designed the famous Chicago department store now know as Cason, Pirie, Scott & Company, built in 1898-1906.  After that, the number of commissions dwindled.  Most of Sullivan’s last works were small banks located throughout the midwest, such as the ones in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Grinnell, Iowa.  He also designed a church for Cedar Rapids.  Clinton’s Van Allen Building was among the last of his commissions, and it recalls the design for Carson’s on a smaller scale.

            The work of Sullivan, one of the great leaders of a true American, modern architecture, was suppressed by the popularity of eclectic design produced by the eastern architecture firms.  Sullivan died destitute and an alcoholic in 1924. 

FRIGGLIN J. HEER & SON: The architect for a landmark building in Lyons, St. Boniface Church (133), built in 1908, was a well-known Dubuque, Iowa firm, Fridolin H. Heer and Son.  Fridolin J. Heer was born at Wallenstadt, Canton St. Gallen, Switzerland, in 1834.  For six years he apprenticed to a master stonecutter at Rapperswill, and afterward traveled through northern Germany before spending two years studying art in Munic.  In 1860, he established himself as a master stonecutter Chur, Canton Granbrundten, and erected many important monuments in area towns during the next five years.

            In 1865, Heer left Switzerland for Chicago.  He worked in Chicago and Bellevue, Illinois before moving to Dubuque, in 1868.  Heer worked as a stonecutter until 1870 when he opened an architectural practice.  He became one of Duguque’s leading architects until his death in 1910.  Fridolin Heer Jr., his son, joined the firm in 1887 after studying at the School of Architecture at Stuttgart, Germany and working for Adler and Sullivan in Chicago. 

PATTON AND MILLER: The firm of Patton and Miller existed from 1901 to 1912 in Chicago.  During that time, they designed many Carnegie Libraries, including Clinton’s (18) and those in Mason City and Charles City, Iowa.  Patton (1852-1915) was a graduate of M. I. T. in 1874 and established an architectural practice in Chicago before being joined by Miller in partnership. 

SIDNEY J. OSGOOD: The architect for the First United Methodist Church (48), built in 1902 at 621 South 3rd Street, was Sidney J. Osgood (1845-1935) of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Born in Maine and trained by his father, who was a builder, Osgood moved to Grand Rapids in 1876, where he opened an architectural office.  Among his major commissions was the Muskegon County Court House, built in 1895.

SOURCE: Department of Community Development, City of Clinton, Clinton, Iowa, An Architectural Heritage (1980)