Reed and Stem

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Grand Central Terminal (1913), New York City, designed with Beaux-Arts architecture
Wulling Hall (Medical Hall), Minneapolis, Minnesota
King Street Station, Seattle, Washington

Reed and Stem (present-day WASA Studio) is an American architectural and engineering firm. The firm was founded in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1891 as a partnership between Charles A. Reed (1858–1911) and Allen H. Stem (1856–1931), the successful partnership captured a wide range of commissions. The firm was reformed as Wank Adams Slavin Associates in 1961, and adopted the name WASA Studio in 2004.


One early work was Medical Hall on the campus of the University of Minnesota. They were, however, most widely known for their work on railway stations over the course of two decades. Through Reed's relationship, by marriage, to the president of the New York Central Railroad, they gained a high-profile commission for the construction of New York's Grand Central Terminal with the architecture firm of Warren and Wetmore, and the newly hired Alfred T. Fellheimer as lead architect. In addition, Reed and Stem undertook many significant projects for the Great Northern Railway and the Northern Pacific Railway. After Reed's death, Stem continued to practice with Fellheimer until his retirement in 1920.[1]

Michigan Central Station, Detroit, Michigan

The firm moved from Minnesota to New York after being selected to design Grand Central Terminal.[2]

The Reed and Stem papers held by the Northwest Architectural Archives, in the Elmer L. Andersen Library, at the University of Minnesota constitute only a small portion of their output. Eight unique commissions are listed, and represent a sample of the firm's experience in non-railroad related commission work, namely residences and commercial buildings.[1]

The firm was reformed as Wank Adams Slavin Associates in 1961, and adopted the name WASA Studio in 2004.[2][3] The firm's office is located on Broadway.[2][3] In 2015, the firm—which had millions of dollars in debt and was facing several lawsuits from previous former clients—filed for bankruptcy and was granted chapter 11 protection from creditors.[3]

Major commissions[edit]

The firm "has worked on more than 100 train stations ... along with college campus buildings and corporate parks."[2]

Work with the Northern Pacific Railway[edit]

During the tenure of President Howard Elliott (1903–1912), the Northern Pacific Railway Company engaged in the upgrading of numerous depots across its system, from Minnesota to Washington. Many of these depots bear common architectural stamps, and are likely to be Reed and Stem designs. There is also the possibility the designs for smaller stations were drawn up by the Northern Pacific's Engineering Department, based on the design elements of Reed and Stem. In addition to the major works, such as the Tacoma Union Station and the former Montana Division Headquarters at Livingston, Montana, these lesser structures like Ellensburg, Washington, probably include:

Northern Pacific Railway depot overview, Ellensburg, Washington
Northern Pacific Railway depot overview, Helena, Montana, circa 1904
Northern Pacific Railway depot, Staples, Minnesota

Several of their works are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These are (with attribution):


  1. ^ a b "Reed and Stem papers". Northwest Architectural Archives, Manuscripts Division, University of Minnesota Libraries. Retrieved 2008-12-25.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Katy Stech, Manhattan Architecture Firm WASA Studio Files for Bankruptcy, Wall Street Journal (July 28, 2015).
  3. ^ a b c Christopher DeSantis, New York Firm WASA Studio Files for Bankruptcy, Contract Magazine (July 31, 2015).
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  5. ^ Schwantes, Carlos (1993). Railroad Signatures across the Pacific Northwest. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 226. ISBN 0-295-97535-0.
  6. ^ Turkel, Stanley (May 23, 2017). Built to Last 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi. AuthorHouse. pp. 170–. ISBN 978-1-5246-7421-2.
  7. ^ Schwantes, Carlos (1993). Railroad Signatures across the Pacific Northwest. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 117. ISBN 0-295-97535-0.
  8. ^ "National Register, University of Minnesota Heritage Trail, University of Minnesota". Archived from the original on May 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  9. ^ Dunlap, David W. (December 18, 2012). "When Trade Shows Were Both Central and Grand". New York Times. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  10. ^ "Sandpoint Train Station: About the Station". Retrieved 2011-06-13.
  11. ^ "Authority for Expenditure 34-1911". Retrieved 2011-06-13.
  12. ^ Russell, Lauren (June 26, 2010). "Trident Train Depot Spared Demolition". Retrieved 2011-06-13.
  13. ^ "Depot Day 2011 in Historic Wallace, Idaho". Retrieved 2011-06-13.