Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge

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Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge was a successful architecture firm based in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, operating between 1886 and 1915, with extensive commissions in monumental civic, religious, and collegiate architecture in the spirit and style of Henry Hobson Richardson.


The firm grew out of Richardson's architectural practice. After Richardson's death at age 47 in 1886, a trio consisting of George Foster Shepley (1860–1903), Charles Hercules Rutan (1851–1914), and Charles Allerton Coolidge (1858–1936) gained control of the firm and completed all of its nearly two dozen pending projects, including the John J. Glessner House in Chicago. Many of Richardson's projects were completed and modified in stages over years, making exact attribution difficult for such buildings as the Ames Gate Lodge in North Easton, Massachusetts, and even Richardson's masterwork Trinity Church, Boston.

Two of the principals had been educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Shepley (class of 1882) and Coolidge (class of 1883). Shepley married Richardson's daughter; and Coolidge later married Shepley's sister.

In 1888, the firm was commissioned by Senator and Mrs. Leland Stanford to join landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in planning the campus for Stanford University. For major commissions in Chicago and the World's Columbian Exposition, Coolidge moved to Chicago and the firm opened its branch office there in 1893, in which many Prairie School architects received their early professional training, notably Hermann V. von Holst who was head draughtsman. A St. Louis branch office began the career of John Mauran; a Pittsburgh branch office developed into several firms, including Rutan & Russell formed by Frank Rutan, the younger brother of Charles. Other Pittsburgh firms developed by branch office employees include Longfellow, Alden & Harlow and Frank I. Cooper; Pasadena architect Myron Hunt spent three years with them in Boston as draftsman.

Stylistically, the firm continued to work mainly in the architectural vocabulary of Richardsonian Romanesque, although with less imagination—for instance, Richardson's asymmetry disappears. The firm continued as Shepley Rutan and Coolidge through 1915, then became Coolidge and Shattuck (Boston) and Coolidge and Hodgdon (Chicago) concurrently from 1915 through 1924, then Coolidge Shepley Bulfinch and Abbott from 1924 through 1952, Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott from 1952, and is still in operation as Shepley Bulfinch.


Image Building Location Year Notes Ref
Franklin MacVeagh Residence Chicago, Illinois 1885–1887 Completed work started by Richardson. Razed in 1922.
Stanford University Main Quad Stanford, California 1887–1906 Also designed Encina Hall and the Leland Stanford Residence.
Bell Telephone Building St. Louis, Missouri 1889
Hartford Union Station Hartford, Connecticut Executed a design by George Keller [1]
New London Public Library New London, Connecticut 1889
Shadyside Presbyterian Church Shadyside, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1890
Williams Memorial Institute New London, Connecticut 1891
Chicago Public Library Chicago, Illinois 1892 Now the Chicago Cultural Center
Flour and Grain Exchange Building Boston, Massachusetts 1892
Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Station Sandusky, Ohio 1892 [1]
Medfield State Hospital Medfield, Massachusetts 1892
Montreal Board of Trade Building Montreal, Quebec 1892 Destroyed in 1902.
Ames Building Boston, Massachusetts 1893
Art Institute of Chicago Built as the "World's Congress Auxiliary Building" for the World's Columbian Exposition.
North Union Station 1893 Razed in 1927.
Conant Hall Cambridge, Massachusetts 1894 Built on the Harvard University campus
Trinity Church Boston, Massachusetts 1894–1897 Completed work started by Richardson.
Tilden-Thurber Building Providence, Rhode Island 1895
Coraopolis Station Coraopolis, Pennsylvania 1896 [1]
Guardian Bank Building Cleveland, Ohio 1896
Glassport P&LE Railroad Station Glassport, Pennsylvania c. 1896
Medill/McCormick Residence Cantigny Park, Illinois 1896
New Castle Junction P&LE Railroad Station New Castle, Pennsylvania c. 1896 Destroyed
Third St. Joseph County Courthouse South Bend, Indiana 1897
Congregational Library & Archives Boston, Massachusetts 1898
South Station Boston, Massachusetts 1898 [1]
Albany Union Station Albany, New York 1899 [1][2]
Chestnut Hill Pump Station Boston, Massachusetts 1900 Built for the Metropolitan Water Board.
Sedalia Public Library Sedalia, Missouri 1900
Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building and Agriculture Building Buffalo, New York 1901 For the Pan-American Exposition,
University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois 1901–1915 Master plan and designs for more than fifteen buildings.
Bartlett Gymnasium Chicago, Illinois 1904 Built for the University of Chicago.
John Carter Brown Library Providence, Rhode Island 1904 Built for Brown University.
All Saints Episcopal Church Appleton, Wisconsin 1905
Hildene Manchester Center, Vermont 1905 Mansion built for Robert Todd Lincoln.
Harvard Medical School 1906
Langdell Hall 1907 Commissioned by James Barr Ames of the Harvard Law School.
Corn Exchange Bank Building Chicago, Illinois 1908 Also known as National Republican Bank. Razed c. 1985.
Boston Safe Deposit Building Boston, Massachusetts 1908–1911
Hampden County Courthouse Springfield, Massachusetts 1908–1912 Additions to building designed by Richardson.
John Hay Library Providence, Rhode Island 1910 Brown University library. [3]
Union Station Springfield, Massachusetts 1910
Harper Memorial Library Chicago, Illinois 1910–1912 University of Chicago library.
YMCA Boston Boston, Massachusetts 1911
First Congregational Church of Fall River Fall River, Massachusetts 1912
Dallas Hall University Park, Texas 1915 On the campus of Southern Methodist University.
Ida Noyes Hall Chicago, Illinois 1916 Located on the University of Chicago campus.
Rockland Station Rockland, Maine 1917 As Coolidge and Shattuck. [1]
Freemason's Hall Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Destroyed
Washington Building Washington, D.C. 1927 Contributing property to the Financial Historic District

Boston & Albany Railroad stations[edit]

Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge also designed 23 stations for the Boston & Albany Railroad (1886 through 1894):[4]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Potter, Janet Greenstein (1996). Great American Railroad Stations. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp. 66, 81, 85, 92, 97, 190, 396. ISBN 9780471143895.
  2. ^ Liebs, Chester H. (July 1970). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Albany Union Station". Archived from the original on September 14, 2011. Retrieved April 18, 2009. and Accompanying two photos, exterior, from 1905 and undated
  3. ^ Lovecraft, H. P. (October 1, 2013). The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories. Penguin. ISBN 9781101663035.
  4. ^ Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl (June 1988). "Architecture for the Boston & Albany Railroad: 1881-1894". Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. 47 (2): 109–131. doi:10.2307/990324. JSTOR 990324.

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