Pacific Coast Architecture Database (PCAD)


Austin, John

ID: 107
Full Name: John Corneley Wilson Austin
Occupation: Architect
Gender: M
Nationality: UK/US
Birth Date: 1870-02-13
Death Date: 1963-09-02
Family: Spouse: In 1912, Austin had been married twice; in 1902, he married Hilda Violet Mytton in Los Angeles, CA. According to the U.S. Census of 1920, Hilda was born in England c. 1873, and came to the U.S. in 1895, six years after John Austin. She, like John and Dorothy, was naturalized in 1903. Her father was Welsh, her mother Russian.
Parents: His father was Richard Wilson Austin; His mother's was Jane Elizabeth Usher Austin; in 1881, Jane E. Austin ran a boarding house in Milverton, Warwickshire, England. His sister was Mabel M.W. Austin (born c. 1868), his brother, William H.H. Austin (born c. 1873).
Children: He had had one child by his first wife, a daughter, Dorothy R. Austin (born c. 1892 in England, came to the U.S. in 1896 and was naturalized in 1903), and had by his second, five daughters, Marjorie (born c. 1905 in CA), Ada Gwendolyn (born c. 1906 in CA), Hilda Violet (born c. 1909 in CA), Angela M. (born c. 1900 in CA) and Phyllis J. (born c. 1912 in CA) and two sons, William (born c. 1907) and Harold M. (born c. 1911 in CA). In 1930, William worked as a Draftsman in his father's architectural office, Ada had become a cellist in an orchestra, and the other three children did not work and may have been in school.
Relocation: Born in Bodicote, Oxfordshire, England, Austin lived at 9 Church Hill Road, Milverton, Warwickshire, England with his mother and two siblings, 2 aunts, 1 uncle, a cousin, 2 servants and a boarder. Austin left the port of Liverpool, England for New York, NY, in 10/1888, living first in Philadelphia, PA. He returned to the UK for three months in 1892, and then left again for a job in San Francisco, CA, where he remained until c. 1894. (He came back from England aboard the S.S. Etruria arriving in the Port of New York, NY on 07/11/1892, bound for San Francisco.) It appears that Austin may have gone back to England at least twice while living in San Francisco, although this is hard to verify. In 1894, with little construction work available following the economic crash of 1893, he transplanted himself to Los Angeles, CA, in 1894. He stayed in Southern California for the rest of his life. The Austin Family lived at 85 Madison Avenue in Pasadena, CA, in 1910 and 1920, according to the U.S. Censuses of those years. By 1930, Austin had moved to a costly, $75,000 house at 1121 Arden Road, Pasadena. John lived here with his wife, Hilda, 6 children, and 3 servants, a butler, maid and housekeeper. He died in Los Angeles County, CA at the age of 93;
Biographical Information: Education: Private school instruction in England; he also was tutored individually.
Work History: Apprentice, William S. Barwick, Architect, in the UK; this was during the late 1880s; Draftsman, Benjamin Linfoot, Architect, Philadelphia, PA, 1891-1892; Draftsman, William S. Barwick, UK, 3 months in 1892; Draftsman, Mooser and Devlin, Architects, San Francisco, CA, 1892-1895; Partner, Austin and Skilling, Architects, Los Angeles, CA, c. 1896-1899; Partner, Austin and Brown, Architects, Los Angeles, CA, c. 1906; Principal, John C.W. Austin, Architect, Los Angeles, CA, c. 1902-1909, c. 1920-1929; Partner, Austin and Pennell, Architects, Los Angeles, CA, c. 1910-1914; Member firm, Allied Architects Association of Los Angeles, CA, 1921-1944; Partner, Austin and Ashley, Architects, Los Angeles, CA, c. 1929-1935; Partner, Austin, Field, and Fry, Architects, Los Angeles, CA, c. 1953-1958;
Miscellaneous: Austin declared his intention to be naturalized on 03/22/1900, and was naturalized on 02/04/1903. The Los Angeles architect, Chauncey Fitch Skilling (1868-1945), who was a Los Angeles City Councilman at the time, served as a character witness for Austin. President, Los Angeles Humane Society for Children, 1912; Member, Jonathan Club, Los Angeles, CA, c. 1912; Member, Sierra Madre Club, Los Angeles, CA, c. 1912; he also was a thirty-second degree Mason, a member of the Mystic Shrine, Al Malaikah Temple, Los Angeles, CA. SSN: 562-52-6213.
Professional Awards: Post College: Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1913;
Countries: United Kingdom
United States
Structures: 1194 West 27th Street House, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA - 1904-1905 (14173)
1st Methodist Church #2, Pasadena, CA - (11221)
1st Methodist Church, Los Angeles, CA - (11222)
Angelus Hospital, Los Angeles, CA - (11223)
Bixby Hotel, Long Beach, CA - (11145)
Canfield-Wright House, Los Angeles, CA - (11224)
City of Anaheim, Carnegie Library, Anaheim, CA - 1909 (1611)
City of Beverly Hills, City Hall, Beverly Hills, CA - 1932 (1002)
City of Los Angeles, City Hall #3, Los Angeles, CA - 1926-1928 (157)
City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks, Griffith Park, Observatory and Planetarium, Mount Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA - 1934-1935 (912)
County of Los Angeles, Hall of Justice Building, Los Angeles, CA - 1925 (1122)
German-American Savings Bank, Anaheim, CA - (4461)
Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, CA - 1906 (8151)
Jeffries, James J., House, Los Angeles, CA - 1905 (11225)
Los Angeles Public Library, Memorial Branch, Los Angeles, CA - 1929-1930 (10644)
Monrovia Unified School District, Monrovia High School, Monrovia, CA - (14988)
National Broadcasting Company (NBC), Studios, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA - 1936-1938 (4032)
Potter Hotel, Montecito, CA - 1902 (3802)
Ross, Mrs. Erskine M., House, Los Angeles, CA - (11220)
Shrine Civic Auditorium #2, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA - 1920-1926 (189)
Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, Courthouse #4, Los Angeles, CA - 1956-1958 (10660)
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Humanities Building Project, Westwood, Los Angeles, CA - 1953 (11213)
Locations: Architect's Birth:
Bodicote, Oxfordshire
Architect's Death:
Los Angeles, CA
Publications: "What Architects Are Talking about", American Architect, 139: 2592, 54, 2/1931.
Schulze, Henry A., "Says Bixby hotel construction was not true concrete", Architect and Engineer of California, 71, 12/1906.
"Bixby Hotel", Architect and Engineer of California, 70, 04/1906.
Keough, T.E., "Failure of the Bixby Hotel", Architect and Engineer of California, 67-70, 12/1906.
Architect & Engineer, 01/1935.
Architectural Concrete, 1936.
Austin, John C.W., "The Los Angeles City Hall", Architectural Forum, 25, 9/1928.
"Make your Clients Their Own "Weather Man"", Architectural Record, 68: 2, 136, 08/1930.
Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, "Shrine Civic Auditorium (Al Malaikah Temple), 1920-1926", Architecture in Los Angeles A Compleat Guide, 257, 1985.
Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, "House, 1904-5", Architecture in Los Angeles A Compleat Guide, 256, 1985.
"Photo of Broadway between 3rd Street and 4th Street, 1907", Arrowhead, 4, 01/1908.
McKaig, Thomas H., Building Failures Case Studies in Construction and Design, 29-30, 1962.
Koenig, Gloria, "Book Look Iconic LA: Stories of LA's Most Memorable Buildings", Echoes, 36, 88, 05/2001.
Werner, Helmut, From the Aratus Globe to the Zeiss Planetarium, 135, 147, 1957.
Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 130, 1994.
Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 259, 1994.
Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 130, 1994.
Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 246, 1994.
Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 246-248, 1994.
"Nobody Censured for Bixby Horror", Los Angeles Times, 1, 11/13/1906.
"At the Courthouse Seek Damages from Builders", Los Angeles Times, 2, 11/07/1907.
"Supposed Corpses Go Up To Rescue", Los Angeles Times, I6, 11/11/1906.
"Bixby Hotel", Los Angeles Times, 22, 11/04/1923.
Rasmussen, Cecilia, "L.A. Scene: the city then and now", Los Angeles Times, B3, 05/24/1993.
"With Thousand Tons of Concrete Twelve Men Go down to Death", Los Angeles Times, 1, 10/10/1906.
"First Methodist Episcopal Church #2 completed", Los Angeles Times, 1-2, 07/09/1923.
"Theatres of Los Angeles including Hollywood and more.", Marquee, 30: 1, 4-29, 1998.
Jewell, Edward Alden, "William Zorach: Sculpture for Architecture", New York Times, 119, 02/01/1931.
Ritter, Paul, Planning for Man and Motor, 23, 1964.
Press Reference Library Notables of the Southwest, 71, 1912.
"First Methodist Episcopal Church to sell property", Southwest Builder and Contractor, 14, col 2, 05/24/1913.
"Austin and Pennell, architects dissolve their partnership", Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer, 10, col 1, 07/18/1914.
"Architects Pennell and J.C. Austin prepare plans for remodeling the German-American Savings Bank, Anaheim", Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer, 13, col 3, 02/21/1914.

Portrait of John C.W. Austin, 1930; from Wikimedia Commons and the Los Angeles Public Library