J. A. Wood

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Tampa Bay Hotel exterior view
The New York State Armory building in Newburgh, New York now houses Orange County, New York's Social Services department, probation officers, and district attorney
A view north along Franklin Street c. 1910s-1920s. The old Hillsborough County Courthouse (demolished in 1953) is pictured on the right

John A. Wood (June 11, 1837 – December 18, 1910), was an American architect . His work in upstate New York included projects in Poughkeepsie and Kingston, New York as well as three armories, in Kingston, Bethel, New York, and Watertown, New York. His work in Tampa, Florida includes the Tampa Bay Hotel and old Hillsborough County Courthouse. His hotel work included the design of the Piney Woods Hotel, Oglethorpe Hotel, Mizzen Top Hotel, and Grand Hotel.

The Tampa Bay Hotel was listed on the National Historic Register in 1972.[1]


Vassar Institute in Poughkeepsie
Stereoscopic image of Kingston, New York Armory building
Architectural features of the Tampa Bay Hotel

Wood was born in Bethel, New York. He began his career in 1863 in Poughkeepsie[2] before moving his office to 153 Broadway in New York City. He completed several projects in the area of Kingston, New York as well as in Brunswick, Georgia.

Wood's parents were Stephen C. Wood and Mary Crist Wood.[3] Wood is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Bethel.

Wood established his practice in Poughkeepsie by 1863.[3] the buildings he designed in the area include several on and around the Vassar College campus. He also did work in Kingston, New York, including the New York State Armory (1878) and, at the end of his career, the Stuyvesant Hotel (1910).[3] He also designed the Tremper House by Mount Tremper (constructed for wholesale grocery businessmen Thomas and Jacob Tremper), one of the earliest railroad resorts in the Catskill Mountains. It was located by the Phoenicia stop of the Ulster and Delaware Railroad.[4]

Hotel design became his specialty and Wood achieved a reputation for his architectural style, especially his use of Moorish Revival style. The Tampa Bay Hotel is his most famous work, a striking five-storied, 511-room building with ornate Victorian architecture features (sometimes referred to as gingerbread), as well as Moorish architectural features including minarets, cupolas, and domes. The resort was built for Henry B. Plant, a railroad and shipping tycoon. It is now part of the University of Tampa campus and is known as Plant Hall. It contains the Henry B. Plant Museum.

Wood stated his dislike for Queen Anne style in the Thomasville Times in 1886: "Dear Sir – Please correct the statement in Saturday’s Times that the ‘Piney Woods Hotel is built in the Queen Anne style.’ Neither the Piney Woods nor any other hotel that I have ever designed is in that beastly style, which is at best no style at all."[2]

The summer home of Effingham Brown Sutton in West Islip, New York (ca. 1870)consisted of a mansion and several fine cottages. The main house, Woodruff Sutton cottage, and gate house were razed by railroad magnate Edwin Hawley. The last original building, owned by George Nicholas in later years, was demolished in the 1950s.

Wood's design for the Grand Hotel (Highmount, New York) was a project for Thomas Cornell, owner of Hudson River steamships and the Ulster and Delaware Railroad. Cornell concluded that a hotel near the railroad would boost traffic and draw wealthy clients who would be hours away from Grand Central Station in New York City.[5] The three-story hotel included elegant features such as turrets, and a covered piazza along its 350-foot length.[5]

Wood's design for a large hotel in Charleston, South Carolina was covered by The New York Times in a January 6, 1894 article.[6]

List of works[edit]

Newburgh Free Library


  1. ^ Hillsborough County Archived April 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Florida department of State
  2. ^ a b March/ 1709 Reynolds Street, Brunswick March/ April 2009 Golden Isles Magazine
  3. ^ a b c Kingston, New York: the architectural guide by William Bertholet Rhoads, James Bleecker
  4. ^ a b Grand Hotel A Slide Talk by Annon Adams; A Program for the Town of Middletown Historical Society at Skene Memorial Library
  5. ^ a b A Catskill Catalog: Aug. 4, 2010 | Catskill Mountain News
  6. ^ [1] January 6, 1894 New York Times
  7. ^ Oglethorpe Hotel
  8. ^ a b New Summer Hotels January 9, 1881 New York Times
  9. ^ Summer Retreats page 42 Builder and Wood-worker, Volume 17
  10. ^ Mizzen Top Hotel Historical marker
  11. ^ Video of a Grand Hotel vintage postcard collection on YouTube
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ Nancy L. Todd New York's historic armories: an illustrated history page 88
  14. ^ City of Kingston, New York - Andy Murphy Center
  15. ^ Heritage Sites #23 City of Newburgh
  16. ^ Flickr image of Mahoney-McGarvey House
  17. ^ a b c Virginia Buechele Frost Mausoleum Friends of the August 2006 Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery Newsletter
  18. ^ POORHOUSE History of Dutchess County
  19. ^ Almshouse photo
  20. ^ Calisthenium and Riding Academy/ Avery Hall Vassar Encyclopedia
  21. ^ Early Images (drawing) Vassar Library
  22. ^ picture of Stuyvesant Hotel

External links[edit]