Pacific Coast Architecture Database (PCAD)


Henderson, Lightner

ID: 3807
Full Name: Lightner Henderson
Occupation: Engineer
Gender: M
Birth Date: 12/02/1866
Death Date: 03/17/1916
Family: Spouse: He married Hannah Manson on 03/19/1902.
Parents: Both of his parents were from PA. His father, Archibald Lightner Henderson, worked as an Episcopalian minister near the town of Gap, PA. His mother descended from English Quakers.
Children: He and Hannah had two daughters: Margaret (born c. 1903) and Harriet (born c. 1905).
Relocation: Henderson came from PA, and moved to Chicago, IL, and then New York, NY, to open offices of his engineering firm. In 1900, Henderson rented a room at 214 123rd Street in Manhattan.
Biographical Information: Education: Henderson was educated in Lancaster County, PA, public schools. He attended the State Normal School in Millersville, PA, and obtained his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, in 1889.
Work History: Engineer, Binder and Seifert, Engineers, Philadelphia, PA, c. 1889-1890; Henderson worked c. 1890 for an engineering concern in Cleveland, OH; Engineer, Purdy and [John T.] Phillips, Engineers, Chicago, IL, summer 1891-c. 1893; Partner, Purdy and Henderson, Civil Engineers and Consulting Engineers, Chicago, IL, c. 1893-1916; the firm moved its base of operations to New York, NY, in 1896. Purdy and Henderson formally incorporated in 1901. After incorporation, Henderson became the President of the concern from 1901-1915. Purdy and Henderson took on work outside of the Eastern US, and did projects on the West Coast in San Francisco, CA, and Seattle, WA. In about 1900, Purdy and Henderson had offices in New York, NY, Boston, MA, Chicago, IL, Havana, Cuba and Seattle, WA.
Miscellaneous: An obituary prepared, in part, by his partner, Corydon Purdy, stated of him: "His achievements of these years, from 1893 through two decades were notable, and mark him as one of the great structural engineers of his day. He was of a very retiring disposition and rather shunned the association of other men. On this account, he was not as widely known, and the quite remarkable character of the man was not as widely recognized as it would have been otherwise....Along with his analytical powers of mind, there was always a practical turn to it, which never was submerged by the complication or the laborious character of a difficulty. He did not arrive at irrational or impracticable conclusions. Simplicity was the distinguishing mark of his designing. It was these two qualities of mind combined that made him so successful in his profession." (See "Lightner Henderson," Journal of the Western Society of Engineers, vol. 21, no. 9, 11/1916, p. 784-786.)
Countries: United States
Locations: Architect's Death:
Chicago, IL
Architect's Birth:
Gap, PA