Pacific Coast Architecture Database (PCAD)

Architects

Howells, John

ID: 2230
Full Name: John Mead Howells
Occupation: Architect
Gender: M
Nationality: US
Birth Date: 1868-08-14
Death Date: 1959-09-22
Family: Parents: His father was the American Realist writer, William Dean Howells (1837-1920). Beginning in 1860, Howell became integrated into the Transcendentalist's intellectual circle in Boston, MA, and wrote for the important political/literary periodicals of the time, the Atlantic Monthly and Harper's Monthly Magazine. By 1866, he became an Assistant Editor at the Atlantic, and elevated to Editor by 1871, a post he held for a decade; it was through the Atlantic that Howells promoted his realist literary perspective. Before taking on the Atlantic position, he gained favor with Republican politicians during the campaign of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, writing a flattering biography of the candidate. In gratitude, the Lincoln Administration appointed him to a plum post, a consulship in Venice, Italy. It was during his European foreign service that he married his wife, Elinor Gertrude Mead, on 12/24/1862. Elinor grew up in a comfortable, culturally-rich environment in Boston, her father, Larkin Goldsmith Mead, Sr., (1795-1869) being a successful lawyer and tavern owner. Elinor's mother Mary Noyes Mead, was the sister of John Humphrey Noyes (1811-1886), the founder of the Oneida Movement. One brother, Larkin Goldsmith Mead, Jr., (1835-1910) became a noted sculptor, and another sibling, William Rutherford Mead (1846-1928), co-founded the pivotal New York Beaux-Arts architectural firm, McKim, Mead and White. John Mead Howells had two siblings, sisters Winifred and Mildred.
Biographical Information: Education: B.S., Architecture, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; Dipl., Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France.
Work History: Partner, Howells and Stokes, Architects, New York, NY, 1897-1917. Partner, Howells and [Abraham] Albertson, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1920-1928; In 1910, Howells and Stokes operated an office in Seattle, WA, overseeing the master plan, design and construction of the Metropolitan Tract, an office, commercial and entertainment complex on the site of the first campus of the University of Washington. Around 1910, this real estate endeavor for the University's proxy developer, the Metropolitan Building Company, was one of the largest planned ensembles of office buildings in the US. Partner, Hood and Howells, Architects, New York, NY, c. 1922. Howells and Hood collaborated on the winning design in the celebrated Chicago Tribune Tower Competition of 1922, probably the most important corporate skyscraper design competition of the decade. Ironically, Howells and Hood's Gothic tower exerted only a fraction of the influence exerted by the second-place entry, Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen's entry. Several buildings on the West Coast reflected the overall massing and form of the Saarinen design, including Timothy Pflueger's Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company Building (San Francisco, 1925), George Kelham's Russ Building (San Francisco, 1928) and Shell Oil Company Building (San Francisco, 1929), and Abraham Albertson and Associates' Northern Life Tower (Seattle, 1929). Interestingly, Howell's one-time partner in Seattle (1920-1928), Albertson, preferred the Saarinen model over his own.
Countries: United States
Structures: Metropolitan Building Company, Arena Building, Metropolitan Tract, Downtown, Seattle, WA - 1915 (16710)
Metropolitan Building Company, Cobb, C.H., Building, Downtown, Seattle, WA - 1909-1910 (4732)
Metropolitan Building Company, College Club #1, Metropolitan Tract, Seattle, WA - 1909-1910 (6215)
Metropolitan Building Company, Henry Building, Downtown, Seattle, WA - 1908-1909 (6083)
Metropolitan Building Company, Master Plan #1, Metropolitan Tract, Downtown, Seattle, WA - (19430)
Metropolitan Building Company, Metropolitan Theatre, Metropolitan Tract, Downtown, Seattle, WA - 1910-1911 (6072)
Metropolitan Building Company, Stimson Medical Building, Metropolitan Tract, Downtown, Seattle, WA - 1923-1925 (14968)
Metropolitan Building Company, Stuart, Elbridge A., Building, Downtown, Seattle, WA - 1914-1915 (6201)
Metropolitan Building Company, University Place Gas Station, Metropolitan Tract, Seattle, WA - 1924 (14027)
Metropolitan Building Company, White, Chester F., Building, Downtown, Seattle, WA - 1908-1909 (15105)
Metropolitan Building Company, White-Henry-Stuart Building Annex, Downtown, Seattle, WA - 1922 (9545)
Metropolitan Building Company, White-Henry-Stuart Building, Downtown, Seattle, WA - 1908-1915 (6081)
Royal Insurance Company, Headquarters Building #2, Financial District, San Francisco, CA - 1907-1909 (1357)
Seattle Railroad and Marine Terminal Project, Seattle, WA - 1913 (6079)
State of Washington, Capitol Building #4 Project, Olympia, WA - 1911 (18275)
Locations: Architect's Birth:
Cambridge, MA
USA
Publications: "A city within a city", Architect, 11: 1, 1916-01.
Croly, Herbert, "The Building of Seattle: A City of Great Architectural Promise", Architectural Record, 32: 1, 14-15, 07/1912.
Klaber, John J., "The Cobb building, Seattle, Wash.", Architectural Record, 39: 154-160, 2/1916.
Croly, Herbert, "The Building of Seattle: A City of Great Architectural Promise", Architectural Record, 32: 166, 3-6, 07/1912.
Sprague, Tyler, "The Stability of Interior Corners", Column 5, XX: 34-37, 2006.
Hines, Neal O., Denny's Knoll: A History of the Metropolitan Tract of the University of Washington, 173, 1980.
Hines, Neal O., Denny's Knoll: A History of the Metropolitan Tract of the University of Washington, 173, 1980.
Hines, Neal O., Denny's Knoll: A History of the Metropolitan Tract of the University of Washington, 1980.
Hines, Neal O., Denny's Knoll: A History of the Metropolitan Tract of the University of Washington, 130-139, 171-173, 06/27/1980.
Woodbridge, Sally, Montgomery, Roger, Guide to Architecture in Washington State, 126, 1980.
Woodbridge, Sally, Montgomery, Roger, Guide to Architecture in Washington State, 126, 1980.
Howells and Albertson, A.H. Albertson, architects, Seattle: Successors to Howells and Stokes,
Royal Insurance Company's Building in San Francisco, 1909.
Seattle Architectural Club Yearbook 1910, np, 1910.
"Plans for New Building for Fourth Avenue", Seattle Daily Times, 43, 1909-11-07.
"New Stimson Building Adds to Metropolitan Grouping", Seattle Daily Times, 20, 01/25/1925.
"Seattle Building Program Downtown Four Millions; Major Projects Under Way or Completed Show Uptrend", Seattle Sunday Times, 18, 10/23/1921.
"Work Will Start Soon on New Cobb Building", Seattle Sunday Times, 7, 05/30/1909.
Upchurch, Michael, "History set in stone", Seattle Times, C1-C2, 07/22/2008.
Veith, Thomas, "Albertson, Wilson & Richardson", Shaping Seattle Architecture, 162, 1994.
Veith, Thomas, "Albertson, Wilson & Richardson", Shaping Seattle Architecture, 162-163, 1994.
University of Washington's Metropolitan Properties, n.p., c. 1951.
Johnston, Norman J., Washington's Audacious State Capitol and Its Builders, 31-32, 1988.