Edward H. Kendall

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150 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan was originally the Methodist Book Concern: "MBC" can still be seen on its crown; the building contained printing presses and offices, but also a chapel[1][2]
International Mercantile Marine Company
Gorham Manufacturing

Edward Hale Kendall (July 30, 1842 – March 10, 1901) was an American architect with a practice in New York City.[3]


Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Kendall was one of the first generation of Americans to study in Paris; he apprenticed in the office of the construction engineer Gridley James Fox Bryant, Boston. He moved to New York where he collaborated with Bryant's collaborator in developing Boston's Back Bay, Arthur Gilman, in building the Equitable Life Assurance Society Building (1868–71). He soon established independent practice and was a member (1868) and eventually President (1892–93) of the American Institute of Architects, in which capacity he presided over the AIA conventions held during the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893.[4]

After the humiliating defeat of an Act to License the Practice of Architecture in New York (1892), The Tarsney Act of 1893,[5] by which the Federal Government was to hire private architects through competitions, was passed by Congress largely owing to his persistence as president of the American Institute of Architects.

Kendall died in New York City, New York in 1901.

Selected works[edit]

All works were in New York, unless otherwise noted.

  • Equitable Life Building, Broadway and Cedar Street (1868–71, in partnership with Arthur Gilman; George B. Post assisted) The commission was awarded after a competition in which H.H. Richardson participated. A six-storey commercial building of unprecedented height, it had passenger elevators to make the uppermost floors accessible, the first office building to employ this technology.[6] Additions by Kendall were made in 1898-99, and further modifications by George B. Post. The building burned in 1912 and was rebuilt to a new design.
  • 425-27 Broome Street, corner of Crosby Street (1874). A cast-iron building in Neo-Grec style. Carefully restored in 2005-06.[7]
  • German Savings Bank, southeast corner of 14th Street and 4th Avenue (with Henry Fernbach)[8]
  • Goelet houses[9] for the Goelet brothers Robert (591 Fifth Avenue, 1880, southeast corner of 48th Street) and Ogden (608 Fifth Avenue, 1882, southwest corner of 49th Street). The brownstone Goelet corner houses were among the last private mansions on Fifth Avenue below Central Park.[10] His mother having died in 1929, Ogden's son Robert W. Goelet replaced 608 Fifth Avenue in 1932 with the Art Deco Goelet Building (now the Swiss Center Building), itself a designated historic landmark,[11] that is "one giant Art Moderne cigarette case of marble", according to Christopher Gray.[12]
  • Gorham Manufacturing Company Building, 889-91 Broadway, northwest corner of 19th Street, built for Robert and Ogden Goelet (1883–84, altered by John H. Duncan, who removed the corner tower and added dormers, 1912). A commercial building with two floors of showrooms and kitchenless "bachelor flats" above, it was entirely in commercial use by 1893, as even bachelors moved uptown. Designated a New York City Landmark in 1984.[13]
  • One Broadway (1883–84), also called International Mercantile Marine Company Building, (NRHP), facing Bowling Green, a ten-storey office building built for Cyrus W. Field as the "Washington Building"; Kendall added four more storeys that gave it a "Hôtel de Ville" roof[14] and a cupola prominent from the harbor in 1887; the structure was stripped of its "Queen Anne" brick and brownstone exterior ornament, which had served, according to an early observer in the New York Times, as "a reminder of old Colonial days." "The completed structure, 258 feet high, was the Pan Am Building of its time, Christopher Gray observed, "a comparative giant, of unique silhouette, dominating one of the most important vistas of New York." [15] The facade was stripped and refaced in limestone for new owners, a shipping firm, the International Mercantile Marine Company (1919–21), but the courtyard elevation, not visible from the street was left largely intact.
  • Navarro house and outbuildings, built for Jose de Navarro in Rumson, New Jersey, purchased in 1891 by Jacob Schiff.[16]
  • 150 Fifth Avenue, southwest corner of 20th Street (1888). Kendall had his office in this Romanesque Revival building, with his son William M. Kendall.[17] It was formerly the headquarters for the Methodist Book Concern, for whose press room, composing room and bindery its penthouse was expanded in 1900 and 1909. A renovation in 2001 restored its pink granite ground-floor rustication.[18]
  • 64-66 Wooster Street, between Spring and Broome Streets (1899). 40°43′24″N 74°0′6″W / 40.72333°N 74.00167°W / 40.72333; -74.00167 It currently houses The Ohio Theatre.
  • Washington Bridge (1888, consulting architect). This truss arch bridge linking Manhattan to The Bronx was redesigned by William R. Hutton and Kendall, based on a design submitted by C. C. Schneider that was pared down to bring the bridge's cost to $3 million.
  • American Express Company Building, Hudson Street (1890–91)


  1. ^ Mendelsohn, Joyce. Touring the Flatiron. New York: New York Landmarks Conservancy, 1998. ISBN 0-964-7061-2-1
  2. ^ White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot (2000). AIA Guide to New York City (4th ed.). New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0-8129-3107-5. 
  3. ^ Some information in this article is drawn from (Society of Architectural Historians) American Architects' Biographies: Kenall, Edward H.
  4. ^ "AIA 150"
  5. ^ The Tarsney Act and its implementation, and is eventual revocation in 1913, are discussed in Cecil D. Elliott, The American Architect from the Colonial Era to the Present (2002:126-28.
  6. ^ Roberta Moudry, The American Skyscraper (Cambridge University Press) 2005:91
  7. ^ The Proposed SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District Expansion March 2006
  8. ^ A design was exhibited at the International Exhibition, Philadelphia, 1876 (Official catalogue, dept. IV-Art, no. 604.
  9. ^ According to the obituary in Appletons' Annual Cyclopaedia and Register of Important Events 1902.
  10. ^ WPA New York City Guide: A Comprehensive Guide to the Five Boroughs of the Metropolis, 1939, noting 591 Fifth Avenue as still standing
  11. ^ Andrew Dolkart, Matthew A. Postal, Guide to New York City Landmarks 2003 ed.: cat. no. 292.
  12. ^ Christopher Gray, "Streetscapes: The Goelet Building; A Facade Rich in Marble", New York Times, December 16, 1990 Accessed September 2, 2008.
  13. ^ Andrew Dolkartand Matthew A. Postal, Guide to New York City Landmarks 2003 ed.: cat. no. 185.
  14. ^ The need for more picturesque French mansards had been expressed by critics. Sarah Bradford Landau and Carl W. Condit, Rise of the New York Skyscraper: 1865-1913 1999:126f and illus. 8.10.
  15. ^ Christopher Gray, "Streetscapes: 1 Broadway; A 1922 Facade That Hides Another From the 1880's," New York Times, 26 March 1995 Accessed 31 August 2008.
  16. ^ Randall Gabrielan, Rumson: Shaping a Superlative Suburb 2003:78f.
  17. ^ Year Book of the Architectural League of New York, 1893, s.v. "Resident Members".
  18. ^ ""New Economy Revives Printing House's Old Look", New York Times, 2 May 2001