William J. Dodd
William J. Dodd (1862–1930) was a Canadian-born American architect and designer who worked mainly in Louisville, Kentucky from 1886 to 1912 and in Los Angeles, California from 1912 until his death. Dodd rose from the so-called Chicago School of architecture, engineering and design innovations of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His design work included architecture, functional and decorative architectural glass and ceramics, furniture, home appliances, and literary illustration.
In a prolific career which lasted more than forty years, Dodd left many extant structures, among the best known of these being the original Presbyterian Seminary campus (now Jefferson Community & Technical College), the Weissinger-Gaulbert Apartments, and the old YMCA building, all three on Broadway in downtown Louisville. Also in Louisville are the Seelbach Hotel and the Western Branch of the Free Public Library. In California, examples of his work include the Pacific Center and Hearst's Los Angeles Herald-Examiner Building in downtown Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Mission Auditorium south of Pasadena.
William J. Dodd was born in Quebec City, Canada, in 1862, the son of Irish and English parents. Before emigrating from Canada to the United States and Chicago Illinois, William's English/Scots father, Edward, was a wharfinger and his Irish mother, Mary Dinning, a school teacher. The family of six, Edward Sr., Mary, Jane (Jenny), Elizabeth, Edward Jr., and William James, moved to Chicago in late 1869. The great Chicago fire of 1871 originated just east and south of where the Dodds had their first address (Ward 10) in Chicago.
Dodd received his training in the architectural office of William Le Baron Jenney though the time of this apprenticeship is not yet established. His first employment appears to be for the Pullman Car Company as a draftsman of architect Solon Spencer Beman's designs for the planned city of Pullman, Illinois from 1880 through 1883. Dodd's social life in Pullman was marked with athletic participation on the first Pullman competitive rowing crew. As a member of the Pullman Rowing Club and the Pullman Pleasure Club he was often mentioned in the press accounts of fetes and dance parties that he coordinated for the young elites of Pullman and Hyde Park. This sporting sociability is not merely incidental to Dodd but returns as an important feature of his later life in Louisville, with his membership in the Pendennis Club and Louisville Country Club, and in Los Angeles with his founding of the Uplifters Club, an offshoot of the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
In 1889 William J. Dodd married Ione Estes of Memphis, TN. Ione was from a large family of some political and historical importance in post-Reconstruction era Tennessee and in the Upland South region. While Dodd's religious upbringing was Methodism, after his marriage to Ione his denominational practice was Presbyterianism. The marriage produced no surviving children.
There are some uncertainties in Dodd's biography. Although naturalized in 1869 upon entering the United States, from the 1890s onward Dodd claimed to be Chicago-born, doing so, Jay Gatsby-like, in all kinds of public documents. In an 1897 interview with a reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal  W. J. Dodd left the reporter, and thus posterity, with the impression that he was a native Chicagoan, that he graduated from "the Chicago schools" and had been in the first graduating class of the Chicago Art Institute. The archives of the Institute do not yet support this claim. Similarly unclear is when, in what year, Dodd began his professional practice in Louisville. The year usually offered in the histories of Kentucky architects (from Withey to Hedgepeth to Kleber to Luhan, Domer and Mohney) for Dodd's arrival in Louisville is 1884, based on the forementioned 1897 article in the Louisville Courier-Journal. In contrast, Chicago newspapers place him still in Pullman by early 1884, thereafter taking employment as an architect with the Northern Pacific Railway upon recommendation by S.S. Beman and moving to the rail company's office in Portland Oregon only to return to Chicago (Hyde Park) and employment with the Beman brothers (S.S. and W.I) by the end of 1885 after the Northern Pacific's collapse and reorganization. The journal Inland Architect announces Dodd's imminent departure from Chicago to begin a partnership with O. C. Wehle of Louisville in mid-1886 saying: "Mr Dodd will [soon] be a valuable addition to the architects of Louisville". In mid November 1886, Dodd was elected to membership in The Western Association of Architects, his home city being given as Louisville. Dodd first appears as a resident, a boarder, in Louisville in the 1887 Caron's Louisville Directory. The American Institute of Architects online historical database of its members states that Dodd became a member of the A.I.A. in 1916 despite evidence that he was listed in membership with the Louisville Chapter of the A.I.A. in 1912 and in its Southern California chapter in 1915.
Dodd spent nearly twenty seven years in Louisville. During this time his professional partners were Oscar C. Wehle, Mason Maury, Arthur Cobb, and Kenneth McDonald. Also, Dodd's output from these years contained many free-lance projects. He worked throughout Kentucky and across the midwest, specifically Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee, creating structures of exceptional craftsmanship and high style, designs which traced the transitional tastes and technologies of the period before Modernism. On the east coast, extant Dodd structures from the early 1890s can be found in Norfolk, Virginia's historic Ghent neighborhood.
In February 1913 Dodd departed the midwest and began a second career in the greater Los Angeles area which lasted until his death there in June 1930. In Los Angeles, Dodd partnered briefly with J. Martyn Haenke (1877–1963) and later, his longest partnership, with William Richards (1871–1945). Dodd's buildings are to be found in the old downtown financial district around Pacific Center, around Hollywood in Laughlin and Hancock Park, to the west in Rustic Canyon, Playa Del Rey and Long Beach, southeast to San Gabriel, and possibly northeast in Altadena. Related to Dodd's Los Angeles work are residences in Oak Glen and Palm Springs, California.
From as early as 1893, and to the end of his life, Dodd was a mentor to talented younger designers who were new to the profession, designers with now well-known names like Lloyd Wright, Thomas Chalmers Vint, and Adrian Wilson, often outsiders without a developed practice and contending with a new client base and fast evolving licensing standards in cities enjoying rapid expansion as was Louisville after the American Civil War and Los Angeles after World War I. The architect Julia Morgan, a mostly free-lance architect from upstate San Francisco, and rare as a female in a male-dominated domain, formed a team with W. J. Dodd and J. M. Haenke as her LA facilitators and design partners for William Randolph Hearst's Los Angeles Herald-Examiner Building, a landmark downtown project completed in 1915.
William Dodd's design work extended to glass and pottery. His designs of Teco pottery are among the most sought-after and rare of the Arts and Crafts movement products introduced by the famed Gates Potteries near Chicago Illinois. He also designed furniture and art glass windows for many of his best residential and commercial buildings. Examples of his work are to be seen in the Ferguson Mansion, currently The Filson Historical Society, and the Hoyt Gamble house, both of Louisville.
This section is under construction. Please check again as list is updated.
- Louis Seelbach residence (1888) or "Seelbach-Parrish House". 926 S. 6th St. Old Louisville-Limerick Historic District.
- Louisville Trust Building in Louisville (1891). External links to images given below.
- Nelson County Courthouse, Bardstown Historic District (1892)
- St. Paul's Episcopal Church, now West End Baptist, Magnolia Avenue, Old Louisville Historic District (1895). External links to images given below.
- George Franklin Berry Mansion in Frankfort KY (ca 1901). External links to images given below.
- Fourth Avenue Methodist-Episcopal Church, 4th & St. Catherine streets, Old Louisville Historical District (1902). External links to images given below.
- Edwin H. Ferguson mansion, now the The Filson Historical Society Third & Ormsby, Old Louisville Historic District (1903–1905)
- Muhlenberg County Courthouse in Greenville KY (1907). External links to images given below.
- Atherton Building, Fourth and Muhammad Ali streets, Louisville (1907)
- Stewarts Building, a.k.a. Stewarts Dry Goods Company, Fourth and Muhammad Ali streets, Louisville (1907)
- Presbyterian Theological Seminary (original campus) now Jefferson Community & Technical College, Broadway, downtown Louisville (ca. 1902-6)
- Seelbach Hotel of downtown Louisville. Built in two phases: (1902 Andrews and Dodd) and (1907 McDonald & Dodd)
- Louisville Country Club (1910)
- Walnut Street Theatre, 4th & Muhammad Ali (formerly Walnut St.), Louisville (1910) External links to images given below.
- George Gaulbert Memorial Shelter House, near Big Rock in Cherokee Park (1910)
- First Christian Church, now Lampton Baptist Church, 4th & Breckinridge streets (1911). External links to images given below.
- Citizens National Life Insurance Building, Park Road, Anchorage (1911)
- Louis Seelbach residence (1911–12) or "Barnard Hall". 715 Alta Vista Rd. Louisville near Lexington Rd. & Cherokee Park
- T. Hoyt Gamble residence, Ormsby Avenue, Old Louisville Historic District (1912)
- Weissinger-Gaulbert Apartments Annex, Broadway, Louisville ( ca. 1912) External links to images given below.
- the old YMCA building, Broadway, Louisville (1911–1912). External links to images given below.
- Western Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library, a Carnegie library: America's first public library dedicated to serve African Americans, 10th & Chestnut (ca. 1905). External links to images given below.
- Hearst's Los Angeles Herald-Examiner Building, downtown Los Angeles, California (ca. 1915). Design team of Morgan, Dodd & Haenke)
- the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Building, now the Pacific Center, at Sixth and Olive streets (1921)
- the Uplifters Club House, now the Rustic Canyon Recreation Center, Haldeman Road, Pacific Palisades (1923)
- San Gabriel Mission Auditorium, greater Los Angeles. (1926)
- Notable Men of Kentucky at the Beginning of the 20th Century (1901-1902). Benjamin LaBree, ed. Geo. G. Fetter, pub. Louisville KY: 1902 p. 159
- Quebec City Wesleyan Methodist Church records, leaf 21, baptismal record of December 17, 1862 (birth date: September 22, 1862)
- U.S. census records of 1870 and 1880. These records identify Edward Dodd (Sr.) as a brick mason or stonemason; Mary's occupation becomes "Keeping house".
- U.S. census record of 1870
- Inland Architect & Builder. Vol 7, No. 1, p. 8: February 1886
- Chicago Directory of 1880 gives an address for W.J. Dodd, 156 Michigan Avenue, the headquarters of the Pullman Car Company; his occupation is given as 'draughstman'. The 1880 census has his residence on South Water Street, the family home, and his occupation is 'architect'.
- Twentieth Annual Report of the Chicago Board of Trade for the Year ending 1877. Compiled by Charles Randolph. Knight & Leonard Printers. Chicago: 1878. Page 194 establishes the address of the Pullman Car Co. as 156 Michigan Ave.
- Chicago Daily Tribune, June 26, 1887: p. 14 "Pullman Rowing Club"
- Pasavento, Wilma. "Sport and Recreation in the Pullman Experiment: 1880-1900". Journal of Sports History, Vol. 9.2, Summer 1982
- Chicago Daily Tribune: July 31, 1882, p. 8
- Chicago Daily Tribune: Oct. 22, 1882, p. 1
- Chicago Daily Tribune: June 26, 1887, p. 14
- Chicago Times, December 31, 1881: "Pullman Pleasure Club"
- Chicago Times, March 24, 1882: "Pullman Socialbility"
- Hyde Park Herald, April 25, 1885: "A Fond Farewell"
- Rand, McNally & Co.'s Handbook of the World Columbian Exposition. Compiled by Stuart Charles Wade. Published by Rand, McNally & Co., 1893, p. 194
- Louisville Courier-Journal. 1897: March 13, Section 2 "Building", p. 8
- Research offers a possible explanation for this biographical uncertainty; Dodd may have received his earliest technical training under the auspices of the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts (1879-1882), the immediate predecessor to the Art Institute; the academy boasted an architecture and design curriculum. W.L.B. Jenney was on the board of the Academy.
- Chicago Daily Tribune, June 29, 1879, p. 8 "The New Academy" by W.L.B. Jenney
- Hedgepeth, Marty Lyn Poynter. The Victorian to the Beaux-Arts: A study of Four Louisville Architectural Firms, McDonald Brothers, McDonald & Sheblessy, Dodd & Cobb and McDonald & Dodd. M.A. Thesis, 1981 University of Louisville
- Kleber, John E., Editor. The Encyclopedia of Louisville, University of Kentucky Press, Lexington, KY:2001
- Luhan, Gregory A., Dennis Domer and David Mohney. The Louisville Guide. Princeton Architectural Press, 2004
- American Architect and Architecture: Vol. XX, July–December. 1886
- http://communities.aia.org/sites/hdoaa/wiki/AIA%20scans/C-E/DoddWJ_WAAnote.pdf. Note: no author is given for the database entry.
- Catalogue of the First Exhibition: Louisville Chapter American Institute of Architects. 1912, pp. 6-7
- Architect and Engineer: v. 43-44 - 1915, p. 118 "New Chapter Members"
- Inland Architect & Builder. Vol 6, No. 6, p. 104: December 1885
- Rand, McNally & Co.'s Handbook of the World Columbian Exposition.Rand, McNally & Co., 1893, p. 194
- Hedgepeth, p. 95
- Johnson, Eugene J. & Russell, Robert D., Memphis: An Architectural Guide. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville: 1990
- Hedgepeth, p. 98
- Yarsinske, Amy Waters. "Ghent: John Graham's Dream, Norfolk, Virginia's Treasure". The History Press, Charleston, South Carolina, 2006, p. 64.
- Sanders, J.R. Oak Glen and Los Rios Rancho. Arcadia Publishing: 2006, p. 26
- Lloyd Wright papers, 1920-1978. Unpublished correspondence. Box 20 "W.J. Dodd - Landscaping". UC Los Angeles: Special Collections, Young Research Library.
- McClelland, Linda Flint. Presenting Nature: The Historic Landscape Design of the National Park Service - 1916 to 1942. National Register of Historic Places Interagency Resources Division of the National Park Service: 1993 Chp. IV, p. 1.
- A.I.A. professional listing for Adrian Wilson: 1962
- Wilson, Mark A. Julia Morgan: Architect of Beauty. Gibbs Smith Publishers: 2007, p. 200. Wilson quotes architect Cynthia Ripley saying: "she was accepted and respected in an all-male field as the only independent woman architect at that time."
- Los Angeles Examiner, June 28, 1914, pt IV, p. 3: "Architects for the Examiner Bldg." Microfiche - Los Angeles Central Library
- Hedgepeth, p. 96
- This building is not characteristic of his more normative classical style. If Dodd's, it may reflect the fashion taste of a client. (See NRNF. The NRNFs for this building group suggest a likely Dodd attribution on style grounds but posit no extant documentation to settle the issue. See Discussion entries adjunct to this page.(National Register of Historic Places) details: Kentucky Historic Resources Inventory for the KY Landmarks Commission Unpublished and unbound leaves. Louisville Free Public Library. Forms 1340 (1977) & 1344 (1981) Keys, Leslee F. and Joanne Weeter. Louisville and Jefferson County Multiple Properties Listing: Suburban Development 1868-1940. Unpublished. Louisville Free Public Library. Listings of 1977 (Kinsman) and 1981 (Hedgepeth))
- LA Times: Aug. 3, 1919, p. V16 "Office Building for Pacific Mutual Life"
- Brush & Pencil: An Illustrated Magazine of the Arts of Today. 1902, Vol. 9, p. 292. Chicago
- With "granular roughenings embellished by representations of chrysanthemum vines". United States Patent Office. Design No. 17,420: June 28, 1887. From same decade in which Louis Comfort Tiffany popularized the chrysanthemum pattern.
- Scott, Mary McNeill. "Yako - The Sickness the Fox Send" published in The Southern Magazine, Louisville KY: Vol. 5, No. 28, January 1895, pp. 361-372. Illustrations for story by W.J. Dodd. Basil W. Duke, editor.
- Casto, Marilyn Dee. Actors, audiences, and historic theaters of Kentucky. University of Kentucky Press: 2000, p. 76. Also, see Hedgepeth, p. 107
- Hedgepeth, p. 103
- Kleber, p. 250
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to William J. Dodd.|
- Johannus Martyn Haenke: article from Austrailiana, November 2006
- ArchitectDB search engine: record 615 Adrian Wilson
- 1905 Catalog of the Gates Potteries of Chicago, IL. Dodd "Teco" designs on p. 5
- Article (blog posting) by historian Nathan Marsak on Dodd's Los Angeles oeuvre. March 14, 2009
- Architech Gallery: Artist - Lloyd Wright Jr.(1890-1972)
- Images of the George F. Berry mansion in Frankfort KY
- Images of the Louisville Trust Co. building in Louisville KY
- Images of historic churches in Louisville KY including St. Paul's Episcopal, Fourth Avenue Methodist, and First Christian
- Images of Muhlenberg County Courthouse, Greenville KY
- Image of old YMCA building, now St. Francis High School in Louisville, KY
- Image of Weissinger-Gaulbert Apts. in Louisville KY
- Image of the Western Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library
- Images of Heron Bldg. and Pacific (Mutual Life Insurance Bldg.) Center in downtown Los Angeles
- Photos & history on many of Dodd's Los Angeles structures as researched and edited by Nathan Marsak