George O. Garnsey

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George O. Garnsey (1840–1923) was an American architect from the city of Chicago. He was born in Rock Island, Illinois and was educated at a private school in New York; in 1852 his parents brought him to Chicago. Garnsey was known for his large picturesque Queen Anne style homes.[1]


After coming to Chicago, he went to work with J.C. Rankin as a draftsman; only 16 at the time, Garnsey stayed with Rankin until 1861.[1] He worked briefly in partnerships and for other architectural firms before going into business as a sole proprietor in 1868. That same year Garnsey published his American Glossary of Architectural Terms. In 1869 Garnsey helped design the current Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield.[1]

After the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 Garnsey helped to redesign many of the buildings in the city and established a national reputation for theater and opera house design.[1] From 1885 until 1893 he edited National Builder, a journal where he published many of the designs for the buildings he worked on. In 1923 he was commissioned by the National Bonding and .Developing Company to build a new city on the site of an old US military installation on the Santa Fe Railroad in New Mexico.[2]

One of Garnsey's opera houses is currently being preserved in Menominee, Michigan.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Wolff, Harold T. A Semi-Bungalow Offers Solid Family Living, Ridge Historical Society. Retrieved 21 February 2007.
  2. ^ "CHICAGOAN LAYS OUT NEW CITY IN NEW MEXICO". Chicago Tribune. February 11, 1923. pp. A11.