Pacific Coast Architecture Database (PCAD)


Wohleb, Joseph

ID: 3809
Full Name: Joseph Henry Wohleb
Occupation: Architect
Gender: M
Birth Date: 1887-09-14
Death Date: 1958-06-11
Family: Spouse: He married Matilda Hellen Gresl Wohleb (b. 01/12/1889 in Andale, KS-d. 02/27/1938 in Olympia, WA) on 02/12/1912; She was nicknamed "Tillie." Her father, Wentzel (born c. 1852) was Hungarian, and, in 1892, was a saloonkeeper in Olympia, WA. Her mother, Anna Gresl (born 03/1861 in WI), had been born in WI. Matilda also had a brother, George Gresl (born c. 1891 in KS). After Tillie's death, Joseph Wohleb married Mrs. Prudence W. Howard, in 10/1941. (Pierce and King County marriage records indicated that a Prudence Howard married Douglas Landaker on 09/08/1945, so Wohleb's second marriage may not have lasted long.)
Parents: According to the US Census of 1930, Wohleb's parents--Heinrich (b. 12/1863) and Adele Herringer Wohleb (b. 01/1851 -d. 1941 in Napa, CA)--both came from Germany; his father had immigrated in 1887, and had been naturalized a US citizen by 1900; he worked as a house carpenter. Adele stayed at home with Joseph, her only child. She entered the US in 1882.
Children: According to the US Census of 1930: Joseph H. Wohleb had 2 sons: Robert Henry (b. 03/03/1916 in Olympia, WA- d. 09/14/1966) and Joseph Wenzel Wohleb (born 08/1923 in WA). Another son, George Gresl Wohleb (05/29/1918-07/26/1926), nicknamed "Buddy," died before that time. Robert became an architect who worked with his father from 1939-1958, becoming a partner in 1944. In 1941, Wohleb also had a step-son, Jasper W. Howard, then a 17-year-old Olympia High School student. Howard was arrested on Armistice Day 1941 when he and a classmate unfurled a large Nazi flag at a local post office; although it was explained as a joke, Howard was charged with "seditious practices," a felony, that could have resulted in reformatory time. Another step-son, Curtis W. Howard, a U.S. Navy Lieutenant, was killed in the Battle of Midway in 06/1942.
Relocation: Born in CT, Wohleb lived with his parents at 610 1/2 East 11th Street, Oakland, CA, in 1900; this neighborhood had a high concentration of recent immigrants, particularly from Germany and Ireland. Wohleb left high school early, perhaps to supplement his parents' household income. In 1911, he continued to live at home in Vallejo, but he relocated in that year to Olympia. WA. Here he married Matilda, who had lived in Olympia since at least 1892. He referred to himself as an architect for the first time in Olympia's 1913 city directory. Wohleb, his wife and son resided with his mother-in-law, Anna Gresl, and brother-in-law, George, at 1009 Franklin Street SE in Olympia, WA, c. 06/05/1917; they continued to reside here in 1920. The family owned its own house at 122 West 21st Avenue, Olympia, WA, in 1930; the house had an approximate value of $12,000 at the time. In 1949, Wohleb lived at 114 East 8th Avenue in Olympia. The architect died in 1958 and was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Tumwater, WA.
Biographical Information: Education: Wohleb left Vallejo High School, Vallejo, CA, in 1902; in a biographical entry in the Capitol Who's Who of Washington, Wohleb indicated that he had attended the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), Berkeley, CA, for at least one year, 1909.
Work History: Apprentice Boat Builder, Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, CA, 1902-1907; as an apprentice, he learned the trades of cabinetmaking and patternmaking. He left Mare Island in 01/1907, and worked in a small-scale boat-building business. Construction worker, San Francisco, CA, and NV, 1907-1911; Principal, Joseph H. Wohleb, Architect, Olympia, WA, 1911-1921, 1923-1944; Partner, Wohleb and Stanley, Architects, Seattle, WA, c. 1922; Partner, Wohleb and Wohleb, Architects, Olympia, WA, 1944-1958; in 1949, his office was in the Chambers Building, Olympia, WA.
Miscellaneous: Wohleb and his wife were active socially, mixing with wealthy businessmen and politicians. He served as an Olympia City Councilman, 1918-1922, 1924-1925. He was member of the Olympia Chamber of Commerce, and a trustee from 1916-1920. In 1939, Wohleb was present at a swank Longacres Race Track party held by its owner Joseph Gottstein in 08/1939; in 09/05/1939, Wohleb attended another social event at Longacres, as part of the entourage of Washington Governor Clarence D. Martin's wife. The following year, Wohleb attended a luncheon held by Mrs. Allen Drumheller (wife of the famous horse trainer) in Olympia which also included Longacres owner Gottstein and Congressman Warren Magnuson. According to the Seattle Times of 01/15/1947, Wohleb and his wife held a dinner party before the annual Governor's Ball at their Olympia, WA, house honoring Representative Harry W. Pierong of Spokane. Other dinner guests included Mr. and Mrs Adolph Schmidt, Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Halgren, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Morck, Mr. and Mrs. William Westover and Mr. and Mrs. M.M. Morris. Member, Rotary Club of Olympia, WA; Member/Trustee, Elk's Club, Olympia, WA; Member, Olympia Golf and Country Club, Olympia, WA. Wohleb was a Catholic.
Professional Awards: College:
Countries: United States
Locations: Architect's Death:
Olympia, WA
Architect's Birth:
Waterbury, CT

Portrait of Joseph H. Wohleb, c. 1957; from the State of Washington, Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP)