John Virginius Bennes

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J.V. Bennes from Photographic Business and Professional Directory, 1916, Portland, Oregon

John Virginius Bennes (August 23, 1867 – November 29, 1943) was an American architect in Baker City and Portland, Oregon. In Baker City he did an extensive redesign of the Geiser Grand Hotel, designed several homes, and a now-demolished Elks building.[1] He moved to Portland in 1907 and continued practicing there until 1942.

Bennes designed numerous projects in the Portland area, as well as in Corvallis, Prineville, and other areas of Oregon. He and his firms produced the designs for at least 20 buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).[2] His work includes the design of more than 35 buildings on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis, as well as plans for 12 other building additions and renovations.[3] He also designed the administration building at Eastern Oregon University.

Bennes is also credited with design work on the Hollywood Theatre in Portland and the Liberty Theatre in Astoria. He worked with Harry A. Herzog on some of the theaters, and Albert Mercier and Lee Arden Thomas have also been credited as collaborators on some of them.[4][5]


Broadway Hotel in Portland

Bennes was born in Peru, Illinois on August 23, 1867.[6] He moved from Chicago to Baker City circa 1900.[7] While in Baker City, he redesigned the Geiser Grand Hotel, and designed the Elks Building and several residences before moving to Portland in 1906 and partnering with Eric W. Hendricks and Willard F. Tobey. Lewis Irvine Thompson also joined the firm. Bennes practiced on his own from 1914 to 1926. Then he partnered with Harry A. Herzog until 1931 and the onset of the Great Depression, when he returned to solo practice.

His design for Eastern Oregon University's Inlow Hall was a Renaissance Revival-style building that serves as an administration building, housing the admissions, registrar's, financial aid, student affairs and president's offices.[8]

Bennes designed several Portland hotels, including the Broadway Hotel, the Hamilton Hotel, the Treves Hotel and the Cornelius Hotel. The Cornelius has been unoccupied since the 1980s, but has been the subject of various restoration plans, most recently in February 2015.[9]

Bennes was a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright and is said to have been "a product of the Chicago school of architecture."[10]

He retired to Los Angeles in 1943 where he died the same year.[7] Some of his plans and drawings are held in the Cachot Therkelsen Collection with the University of Oregon Libraries.[11]


Cornelius Hotel in Portland

Bennes, Hendricks & Tobey (1906-1909)[edit]

Bennes, Hendricks & Thompson (1909-1911)[edit]

Bennes and Hendricks (1911-1913)[edit]

Independent (1914-1925)[edit]

Bennes & Herzog (1925-1931)[edit]

Independent (1933-1943)[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Landis, Larry. "John V. Bennes (1867-1943)". The Oregon Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ Johnson, Ian (January 12, 2009). "Architect-Designed Portland Warehouse Listed in the National Register of Historic Places". Oregon Parks and Recreation Department News. 
  3. ^ a b Albright, Mary Ann (March 2, 2007). "Case closed as buildings make list". Gazette-Times. 
  4. ^ "John Bennes". Cinema Treasures. 
  5. ^ "Bagdad Theater". Cinema Treasures. 
  6. ^ Hedman, Arnie; Belsma, Ronnie; Lynch, James (April 23, 1982). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Heppner Hotel" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Oregon State University Historic District section 8, page 22 U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service
  8. ^ a b "Campus Tour and Information". Eastern Oregon University. 
  9. ^ Njus, Elliot (February 5, 2015). "Landmark Portland Buildings to be Transformed into Hotel". The Oregonian. p. B6. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  10. ^ Church's Building Well Worth Preserving, Larry Landis, February 01, 2001
  11. ^ Cachot Therkelsen Collection 1906-1952 University of Oregon Libraries
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Oregon National Register List" (PDF). Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. June 6, 2011. Retrieved July 31, 2012. 
  13. ^ Edmonston, George P., Jr. "Up Close and Personal: Campus Tour". OSU Alumni Association. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  14. ^ Hamilton Hotel (Venable Hotel) HABS No. OR-159 Historic American Buildings Survey
  15. ^ a b Alma Hotel National Register of Historic Places registration form.[dead link]
  16. ^ Engeman, Jessica (June 30, 2008). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Pacific Hardware & Steel Company Warehouse" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved July 31, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Astoria
  18. ^ Rose, Michael (September 4, 2014). "City's Howard Hall Demo Decision Appealed to State Board". Statesman Journal. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  19. ^ Soo, Saerom (February 6, 2015). "Howard Hall Demolition Begins". Statesman Journal. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Churchill Hall, Southern Oregon University (Ashland, Oregon)". University of Oregon Digital Archives. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  21. ^ Clatsop County National Register of Historic Places
  22. ^ "Apartment Houses Rise". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon: Oregonian Media Group. January 8, 1931. p. 24. 
  23. ^ "Lieuallen Administration Building". Western Oregon University. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 

External links[edit]