THE ARCHITECTURAL PROFESSION IN UTAH
State Hospital, Richard K. A. Kletting
Today's architect is most likely a graduate of an accredited, university-based
architectural program. He or she has acquired a first professional degree,
either a Bachelor's or a Master's of Architecture, has interned for at least
three years with a registered architect, and has passed a registration examination
administered by the NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration
Boards). The development of these professional standards evolved over many
More than a century ago, in what was then Utah Territory, the development
of design at the local level usually became the responsibility of a person
in the building trades. This was common throughout the nation. A number
of those tradespersons who were called upon to design specific buildings
eventually expanded their design services and become known as architect-builders.
These designers were joined by what is referred to as the amateur architect,
often a person of some education or erudition who was fortunate enough to
have access to books of design and to clients willing to engage him or her,
either as a favor or for a fee. A notable eighteenth-century amateur architect
of Virginia was none other than Thomas Jefferson. His home, Monticello,
as well as his quadrangle at the University of Virginia display his familiarity
with Roman Classicism primarily drawn from his famous collection of architectural
Professionally trained architects, or persons who derived their sole income
from the design of buildings, appeared in the United States in the nineteenth
century. They may have been the product of a formal apprenticeship with
another "architect" or architect-builder, they may have studied
abroad in a professional school such as the French Ecole des Beaux Arts
(where they no doubt also apprenticed with an architect), or, by the latter
half of the century, they may have secured an architectural education in
a department of architecture attached to a major public or private American
institution of higher learning. The first attempt to organize architects
by profession began in the late 1850s with the establishment of the American
Institute of Architects. Statewide chapters or local societies of the American
Institute of Architects were eventually established as the number of architects
increased. One outcome of the professionalism movement was the licensing
of architects on a state-by-state basis in the latter half of the nineteenth
The development of the architectural profession in Utah followed the national
pattern, albeit in the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century.
The building of "Zion" in Utah involved a large number of buildings
and designers. The colonizing efforts of Brigham Young included attracting
numerous trades- and craftspeople, and also created a great need for the
design of buildings. In addition to building entire communities - which
included residential, civic, and commercial architecture - a number of different
types of religious buildings were needed to satisfy the specific requirements
of the Latter day Saints. Temples and tabernacles built in selected early
communities joined chapels, found in every Mormon community, as well as
specialized buildings such as tithing barns and bishop's storehouses.
Many of the early tradespersons who designed to suit the needs of their
particular community have gone unrecognized. Luckily a few have been documented.
Some of their well crafted stone houses and outbuildings still stand and
are appreciated by those for whom they still provide shelter. Those individuals
who eventually left their careers in the building trades to become architect-builders
were usually found in larger population centers. A number of them worked
in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints designing
temples, tabernacles, chapels, and the houses of general authorities. Notable
architect-builders for the LDS Church include Truman Angell, Sr., who worked
on the Salt Lake Temple and other buildings on that temple block, and William
Folsom, who was most well known for his design of the Manti Temple.
Travel was a major source of architectural inspiration and exposure for
these designers, as was the reliance upon trade journals and published books
of designs. Utah's remoteness, despite the transcontinental railroad, made
training in architectural skills difficult to come by for those wishing
to learn how to design. Young persons willing to apprentice in an office
needed skills in drawing, drafting, mathematics, and technical classes before
they even could apply. One popular method of obtaining those much needed
skills was to enroll in correspondence classes. One of the most popular
correspondence schools in the country was the International Correspondence
School (ICS) of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Its curriculum included a wide variety
of professional fields and its programs were popular in both the urban and
rural communities of Utah. Davis County's most notable late nineteenth-century
architect-builder, William Allen, took a series of ICS classes in 1897.
He later went on to become a licensed architect in 1911. Architects Taylor
Woolley and Hyrum Pope also studied via ICS in the early years of this century.
Those armed with the rudimentary skills received their practical experience
as apprentices in architects' and engineers' offices in Salt Lake City,
Ogden, and Logan. Late nineteenth-century architects Richard K. A. Kletting
and Walter E. Ware trained several generations of architects in their Salt
Lake City offices. However, a more steady and lucrative training ground
for young designers was in the shops of the West's railroads. In Utah, the
Oregon Short Line was a major employer of young draftspersons. When these
apprentices reached their maturity as architects it was not uncommon for
them to receive commissions from railroad employees.
With one exception, formally trained architects were rare in later nineteenth
and early twentieth-century Utah. The exception, Joseph Don Carlos Young
(1855-1938), the last surviving son of Brigham Young, was the first architect
in Utah to receive a formal education. He majored in civil engineering at
Rensselear Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, from 1875 to 1879. After
graduating, he engaged in railroading and engineering and was a two-term
Utah territorial legislator before turning to architecture. In 1887, he
succeeded Truman Angell, Sr., as LDS Church architect and remained in that
position for fifty years. During 1888-89 he taught mechanical and architectural
drafting in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Utah. Young
was succeeded in this teaching role by William Ward, a stonecarver and sculptor,
who turned architect after his return to Utah in 1888. In 1906, Young practiced
in partnership with his son, Don Carlos Young, Jr. - a partnership that
continued until 1915.
Joseph Don Carlos Young was also an exception to the late nineteenth-century
architectural community since it was comprised of mostly non-Mormon, or
"Gentile," architects from outside Utah Territory. Two of the
most respected and most prolific of these professional Gentile architects
were Richard K. A. Kletting and Walter E. Ware.
Kletting, the son of a German railroad builder, spent his early years in
railroad camps. As a young man, during summers he learned stonecutting,
and at sixteen he became a junior draftsman in the engineering office of
the German railroad. After additional drafting work in a city engineer's
office he went to Paris to work for a large construction firm. He immigrated
to the United States in 1883, visited a number of cities on his trek west,
and settled in Salt Lake City, where he was immediately employed. Two years
after his arrival he advertised his profession in the Salt Lake City
Directory for 1885. He designed large commercial buildings, church buildings
for the LDS Church, and schools and residences. His most notable achievement
was winning the design competition for the Utah State Capitol Building in
1912. Kletting, somewhat of a loner, was best known for his teaching. Aside
from training a large number of Utah's future architects in his office,
he also taught math and other subjects in his home. He was also credited
with cataloging the book collection of the Salt Lake City Public Library.
He was an avid conservationist, concerned about Utah's public lands and
watershed areas. His interest in conservation was recognized in 1964 when
a 12,000-foot peak in the Uinta Mountains was named in his honor.
Walter E. Ware, like his colleague, was also associated in his early years
with the railroad. His father was an inventor and expert in steam shovel
operations who had befriended Sidney Dillon of the Union Pacific railroad.
After completing high school, Ware went to work in an architect's office
and later in Union Pacific drafting offices. He eventually designed a number
of buildings for Union Pacific. Ware opened an office in Salt Lake City
in 1891 and practiced architecture for nearly sixty years, from 1891 to
1949. His early work was residential architecture. However, the scope of
his practice changed as did the nature of the designs as he took on various
partners. One of his longest partnerships was with Alberto O. Treganza,
a Californian, influenced by Craftsman architecture and the midwest's Prairie
School style. His last major partnership, from 1938 to 1949, was with Floyd
Kletting and Ware share the title "Dean of Utah Architecture. Both
were known for the wide range of their commissions, their professional ethics,
and the desire to impart their knowledge to future generations of Utah architects.
Both were honored in November 1939 for their professional achievements at
a lavish banquet at the Hotel Utah sponsored by fellow architects. Walter
Ware also was honored as the first Fellow of the Utah Chapter of the American
Institute of Architects.
The next generation of architects, many of whom were trained in the offices
of these and other Gentile architects, included a number of Utah's native
sons and recent converts to the LDS Church. Among the most notable was Taylor
Woolley, who, after working briefly for Ware and Treganza, apprenticed in
Frank Lloyd Wright's Oak Park studio. He was invited in 1909 to join Wright
in Fiesole, Italy, where he worked on the architect's famous Wasmuth Portfolio,
a lithographic record of Wright's notable designs.
The need for a professional organization of architects in Utah coincided
with a state-imposed registration procedure for the profession. The earliest
roster of architects is dated June 1911 and consisted of a large number
of well-known architect-builders and architects. The majority came from
Salt Lake City; however, a number also represented such cities as Provo,
Logan, and Ogden. The earliest professional organization - the "Utah
Association of Architects" - was established in 1911. In 1919 the professional
community was invited to the "Institute of Utah Architects" first
annual dinner at the Newhouse Hotel, hosted by President Walter E. Ware.
It is unclear whether this was simply a renaming of the earlier organization
or a new professional group.
In 1921, Utah received its charter for the Utah Chapter of the American
Institute of Architects (AIA). The chapter's territory included all of Utah
as well as thirty-two counties of Idaho. Its fifteen members, all of whom
were members of the earlier professional organizations, were simultaneously
members of the AIA. Membership grew very slowly in the 1920s and very few
of the members were Idaho architects. The membership dipped in the 1930s
and early 1940s due to the Great Depression and war years. By the end of
the 1940s membership nearly tripled, no doubt due to the postwar economic
recovery. In 1942, Salt Lake architect Raymond J. Ashton was designated
as the second fellow of the Utah chapter, and the following year he was
nominated president of the national AIA at its annual meeting in Cincinnati.
In the 1920s numerous firms with a new generation of architects were established;
however, many of these would be reorganized during the depression years.
One firm among several that successfully survived the late 1920s and 1930s
was that of Carl W. Scott and George W. Welch. One of their notable achievements
in the 1920s was the planning and design of an entire new community for
Utah Copper Company. Copperton, on the west side of the Salt Lake valley,
represents the 1920s version of the company town, complete with schools,
recreation facilities, and stuccoed masonry houses highlighted with copper
decorative motifs. Scott and Welch went on to design schools, libraries,
and public buildings throughout Utah as a result of the New Deal's W.P.A.
A formal architectural education for Utahns still remained a problem through
the 1930s and early 1940s. No Utah institution of higher learning offered
a professional architecture program. Some aspiring architects took the engineering
curriculum at the University of Utah, followed by an apprenticeship in a
local architectural firm; others left the state for architectural programs
at such institutions as the University of California at Berkeley or the
University of Oregon. Many others undertook the long road of the office
apprenticeship and spent a decade or more in the drafting rooms of various
firms before gaining eligibility for registration.
Thomas Kearns residence, Neu Hansen
Architect and educator Roger Bailey's founding of the department of
architecture at the University of Utah in 1949 helped solve the problem.
Bailey was inculcated with the Beaux Arts approach to design at Cornell
University. Upon graduation, he spent several years working in various New
York architectural firms. In 1922 he won the prestigious Paris Prize Competition
and immediately headed for Paris. He remained in Europe for three years,
during which time he traveled extensively on the continent. After additional
work in New York offices, he joined the faculty of the School of Architecture
at the University of Michigan, where he claimed his real education in architecture
took place. While traveling west with his wife during the summer of 1948
he happened to stop at the University of Utah and inquire of President A.
Ray Olpin why the university did not have an architectural program. Less
than half a year later he was engaged in building such a program for forty-five
students who had registered to take architectural classes in the basement
of the university's Park Building. The first graduates of the program entered
the practice of architecture during the 1950s. Roger Bailey's untiring efforts
to provide a quality education for future architects in the Intermountain
West is a benchmark in the history of the profession and simultaneously
marks the culmination of the first century of the practice of architecture
See: Peter L. Goss, "Architecture at the Turn of the Century,"
Utah Historical Quarterly 54 (Winter, 1986); and Peter L. Goss, "Toward
an Architectural Tradition" Utah Historical Quarterly 43 (Summer
Peter L. Goss