Zachary Taylor Davis
|Zachary Taylor Davis|
May 26, 1869|
|Died||December 16, 1946
Zachary Taylor Davis (May 26, 1869 – December 16, 1946) was the architect of several major Chicago buildings, including St. Ambrose (1904) Old Comiskey Park (1910), Wrigley Field (1914), Mount Carmel High School (1924), and St. James Chapel of Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary (1918).
Davis was born in Aurora, Illinois, and graduated from the Chicago School of Architecture at Armour Institute (later Illinois Institute of Technology). After graduating he began a six-year apprenticeship, part of which was spent as a draftsman for Louis Sullivan - along with another aspiring architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. After his work with Adler and Sullivan, Davis began his career as supervising architect for Armour & Company. Davis later started an independent firm with his brother Charles in 1900.
In 1909, he designed the third Kankakee County Courthouse. A year later, he was hired by Charles Comiskey to design White Sox Park, later known as Comiskey Park. To prepare for the project, Davis toured ballparks around the country with White Sox pitcher Ed Walsh. In 1914, he designed Weeghman Park for the Chicago Whales, a park which would later become Wrigley Field. Davis was also involved with the design of the original Yankee Stadium.
For the majority of his career, Davis worked out of his offices in the Unity Building in Chicago's Loop. He quietly resided with his family at his home at 45th and Drexel in Kenwood, Chicago. One architectural historian called Davis "one of the most significant lost architects in Chicago." He died in Chicago, aged 74.
Davis's wife, Alma C. Davis predeceased him by one month, passing away on November 13, 1946. Their oldest son, Zachary Taylor Davis II, was born in 1898. He worked as a salesman for Monsanto Company and died of a heart attack on August 11, 1938, at his home in Evanston, Illinois. The younger Davis was survived by his wife, Mary (née Ryan) and seven-year-old son, Zachary Taylor Davis III.
Davis and Alma also had two other sons, David and Lawrence, and a daughter, Mary Louise, who married Charles Allison.
Known as the "Frank Lloyd Wright of baseball," Davis was one of the first architects to design ballparks with innovative steel-beam and concrete construction. Prior to his design of Comiskey Park, Chicago ballparks were wooden structures with minimal capital investment. This allowed both Chicago teams to move frequently, and also meant that demolition of the old parks was inexpensive. Davis's designs and their more solid construction ended this trend in Chicago.
- Kankakee County Bar Association, retrieved 01/10/07
- Ballparks of Baseball: Comiskey Park, retrieved 01/10/07
- Chicago Tribune, December 17, 1946
- Chicago Tribune, August 12, 1938
- Places of Assembly, by Paula R. Lupkin, Encyclopedia of Chicago, retrieved 01/10/07
- Chicago Tribune, November 9, 1922