Gilbert, Cass, 1859-1934

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1859-11-24
Death 1934-05-17
Americans

Biographical notes:

Cass Gilbert was born on November 24, 1859, in Zanesville, Ohio, the son of General and Mrs. Samuel Augustus Gilbert. He received his education at MacAlester College, St. Paul, Minnesota and attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge after working in a St. Paul architect's office. Following graduation, he traveled throughout Europe and upon his return, entered the office of McKim, Mead, and White, Architects in New York City. A year later, in 1882, he established his own office in St. Paul. Cass Gilbert is credited by some as being the father of the skyscraper. He designed several well-known buildings in New York and Washington, D.C. In 1903, he was commissioned to design the rebuilding of the Montana Club, in Helena, Montana, after it had been destroyed in a 1902 fire. The club members wished to retain the "desirable features" of their first building which Gilbert then incorporated into a structure of Spanish Renaissance design. The cost of the building and furnishings exceeded $100,000. Cass Gilbert died in Brockenhurst, England, on May 17, 1934.

From the guide to the Cass Gilbert Papers, 1902-1910, (Montana Historical Society Archives)

Architect of the Detroit Public Library.

From the description of Cass Gilbert correspondence, 1923 April 27. (Detroit Public Library). WorldCat record id: 429514939

Architect of public buildings and skyscrapers. Cass Gilbert studied for a year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and traveled in Europe before apprenticing with McKim, Mead & White in New York from 1880 to 1882. Gilbert then returned to St. Paul, Minnesota, and practiced in partnership with James Knox Taylor until 1892, when he started his own firm. He established a New York office in 1898 and by the end of his long career had worked on some 600 projects.

From the description of Cass Gilbert collection, 1883-1952 (bulk 1900-1934). (New York University). WorldCat record id: 476117073

Architect.

From the description of Papers of Cass Gilbert, 1841-1961. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 78306868

Cass Gilbert was born in Zanesville, Ohio and moved with his family to St. Paul in 1867. He attended Macalester College and M.I.T. In 1880,Gilbert joined the New York architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White, but returned to St. Paul in 1882, where he opened an office with James Knox Taylor. The Gilbert and Taylor partnership lasted until 1893, when Taylor moved to Philadelphia. After Taylor's departure, Gilbert completed commission for the Minnesota State Capitol (1895-1905), and several Northern Pacific depots. At about the turn of the century, Gilbert moved to New York City, and continuted his career, designing the U of Minn. campus plan (1906), the Woolworth Building (1911-13), the Federal Reserve Bank building in Minneapolis (1923-25), the U.S. Supreme Court Building and many other notable buildings.

From the description of Cass Gilbert collection 1889-1922. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 63313751

Cass Gilbert was born in Zanesville, Ohio in 1859 and moved with his family to St. Paul, Minnesota in 1867. He briefly attended a St. Paul preparatory school (which later became Macalester College). In September of 1876, Gilbert quit school and became a draftsman's apprentice with St. Paul architect Abraham Radcliffe. One of Gilbert's closest friends, Clarence Johnston was already working in Radcliffe's modest practice. In the fall of 1878 both Gilbert and Johnston traveled to Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where they studied architecture under William Robert Ware. Johnston soon ran short of funds and returned to St. Paul to continue his apprenticeship, but Gilbert continued his studies at M.I.T. until late 1879. On January 3, 1880 Gilbert sailed for Europe and his own version of the Grand Tour. After returning from Europe in the fall of 1880, Gilbert joined the New York firm of McKim, Mead and White. Gilbert worked for the firm as Stanford White's assistant. In 1882 Gilbert left New York and returned to St. Paul where he opened an office with James Knox Taylor. Although their early years in St. Paul were a struggle, the partners eventually landed important commissions such as the Endicott Building in downtown St. Paul (1888) and the Portland Terrace Apartments (1888). The Gilbert and Taylor partnership lasted until 1893, when Taylor moved to Philadelphia. After Taylor's departure, Gilbert completed the commission for the Minnesota State Capitol (1895-1905) and several Northern Pacific depots. In 1900, Gilbert abandoned his Minnesota office and moved to New York City where his career was rapidly expanding. He executed plans for the University of Minnesota (1909-1910), New York City's Woolworth Building (1911-1913), the Federal Reserve Bank building in Minneapolis (1923-1925), the U.S. Supreme Court Building, and many other notable buildings.

From the description of Cass Gilbert collection 1909-1910. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 368015240

Biographical Note

  • 1859, 24 Nov.: Born, Zanesville, Ohio
  • 1868: Moved to St. Paul, Minn.
  • 1878: Attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.
  • 1880: Joined architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and Whiten
  • 1883: Opened his own architectural firm, St. Paul, Minn.
  • 1887: Married Julia T. Finch
  • 1908 - 1909 : President, American Institute of Architects
  • 1913: Architect of the Woolworth Building, New York, N.Y.
  • 1913 - 1914 : President, Architectural League of New York
  • 1919 - 1920 : President, National Institute of Arts and Letters
  • 1921: Completed work on the Detroit Public Library, Detroit, Mich.
  • 1921 - 1923 : Director, American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • 1929: Received commission to design the United States Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C.
  • 1931: Completed work on George Washington Bridge, New York, N.Y.
  • 1934, 17 May: Died, Brockenhurst, England

From the guide to the Cass Gilbert Papers, 1841-1961, (bulk 1886-1934), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

The Endicott Building was the product of prominent architect Cass Gilbert and his partner, James Knox Taylor. It was built adjacent to the Pioneer Building in 1889-1890 and features, besides the main entrance on Fourth Street, an interior arcade with a stained glass skylight which extends through the block to a less dramatic entrance on Fifth Street. The Endicott Building was placed on the National Register in 1974 and designated as a local landmark in St. Paul in 1979.

For historical information regarding the Pioneer Building, please see the Pioneer Press building collection, N 77.

From the guide to the Pioneer and Endicott buildings collection, 1888-1890, (University of Minnesota Libraries. Northwest Architectural Archives, Manuscripts Division [naa])

Cass Gilbert was born in Zanesville, Ohio on November 24, 1859. He moved with his family to St. Paul in 1868 and attended Macalester College when it was a prep school and then the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1880, he joined the prestigious New York firm of McKim, Mead & White, leaving there in 1882 to return to St. Paul as their western representative. He began a partnership with James Knox Taylor in 1885, whom he had known at school in St. Paul and at MIT.

James Knox Taylor was born in Knoxville, Illinois in 1857. He was educated in the public schools of St. Paul and studied at MIT (1877-1879). He then worked in New York City before joining Gilbert in partnership in 1885. In 1892, he moved to Philadelphia and two years later went to work in the Office of the Supervising Architect of the Treasury in Washington, DC as a draftsman. He was appointed Supervising Architect in 1898 and remained in that position until 1912. Taylor spent two years as director of the department of architecture at MIT and then moved to Yonkers, NY, where he practiced for several years before retiring to Tampa, FL in 1928. He died there on August 27, 1929.

The Gilbert and Taylor partnership (1885-1891) was highly successful, producing many residences and other buildings in St. Paul and elsewhere. Among these were the Northern Pacific Depot (Little Falls, MN) (1889); Dayton Avenue Presbyterian Church (St. Paul) (1885-1886); the Board of Trade Building (Duluth, MN) (1885); and the Endicott Building (St. Paul) (1889-1890).

When the partnership dissolved in 1891, Gilbert continued to maintain a private practice in St. Paul until moving to New York City around 1901. The most outstanding commission during those years was the Minnesota State Capitol, St. Paul (1895-1905). He had a very distinguished career in New York, designing such buildings as the Palace of Fine Arts at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis) (1903-1904); the University of Minnesota campus plan (1906); the Woolworth Building (1911-1913); the Detroit Public Library (1913-1921); the Federal Reserve Bank (Minneapolis) (1923-1925); the West Virginia State Capitol (Wheeling) (1924-1932); the U.S. Supreme Court Building (1928-1935); the New York Life Insurance Co. building (New York) (1929); and many others. Cass Gilbert died on May 17, 1934.

From the guide to the Cass Gilbert collection, 1889-1922, (University of Minnesota Libraries. Northwest Architectural Archives, Manuscripts Division [naa])

Cass Gilbert was born in Zanesville, Ohio in 1859 and moved with his family to St. Paul, Minnesota in 1867. He briefly attended a St. Paul preparatory school (which later became Macalester College). In September of 1876, Gilbert quit school and became a draftsman’s apprentice with St. Paul architect Abraham Radcliffe. One of Gilbert’s closest friends, Clarence Johnston was already working in Radcliffe’s modest practice. In the fall of 1878 both Gilbert and Johnston traveled to Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where they studied architecture under William Robert Ware. Johnston soon ran short of funds and returned to St. Paul to continue his apprenticeship, but Gilbert continued his studies at M.I.T. until late 1879. On January 3, 1880 Gilbert sailed for Europe and his own version of the Grand Tour.

After returning from Europe in the fall of 1880, Gilbert joined the New York firm of McKim, Mead and White. Gilbert worked for the firm as Stanford White’s assistant. In 1882 Gilbert left New York and returned to St. Paul where he opened an office with James Knox Taylor. Although their early years in St. Paul were a struggle, the partners eventually landed important commissions such as the Endicott Building in downtown St. Paul (1888) and the Portland Terrace Apartments (1888).

The Gilbert and Taylor partnership lasted until 1893, when Taylor moved to Philadelphia. After Taylor's departure, Gilbert completed the commission for the Minnesota State Capitol (1895-1905) and several Northern Pacific depots. In 1900, Gilbert abandoned his Minnesota office and moved to New York City where his career was rapidly expanding. He executed plans for the University of Minnesota (1909-1910), New York City’s Woolworth Building (1911-1913), the Federal Reserve Bank building in Minneapolis (1923-1925), the U.S. Supreme Court Building, and many other notable buildings.

From the guide to the Cass Gilbert collection, 1909-1910, (University of Minnesota Libraries. University of Minnesota Archives [uarc])

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Subjects:

  • Architecture--Arkansas--Little Rock
  • Architecture--Minnesota--Designs and plans
  • Skyscrapers
  • Architecture--Minnesota--Saint Paul
  • Public buildings--West Virginia--Charleston
  • Architecture--Designs and plans--Montana
  • Public buildings--New York (State)--New York
  • Dwellings
  • Commercial buildings
  • Campus planning--Minnesota--Minneapolis
  • Architecture--New York (State)--New York
  • Architecture--United States
  • Architects
  • Buildings--Design and construction--Montana
  • Architectural design
  • Architectural practice
  • Buildings--Designs and plans
  • Public buildings--Minnesota--Saint Paul
  • Commercial buildings--Minnesota--Saint Paul--Designs and plans
  • World politics
  • Architecture--Designs and plans
  • Architecture--West Virginia--Charleston
  • Railroad stations
  • Montana
  • Historic buildings
  • Architecture--History--19th century
  • Campus planning
  • Buildings
  • Architecture
  • Public buildings
  • Public buildings--Washington (D.C.)
  • Buildings--New York (State)--New York
  • Office buildings
  • Public buildings--Arkansas--Little Rock
  • Architecture--Washington (D.C.)

Occupations:

  • Architect
  • Architects--Minnesota--Saint Paul

Places:

  • Washington (D.C.) (as recorded)
  • Minnesota (as recorded)
  • Connecticut (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • Minnesota--Minneapolis (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • New Jersey (as recorded)
  • Minnesota--Saint Paul (as recorded)
  • New York (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Minnesota (as recorded)
  • Helena (Mont.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Saint Paul (Minn.) (as recorded)
  • Minnesota--Minneapolis (as recorded)
  • Minnesota--Saint Paul (as recorded)
  • Minneapolis (Minn.) (as recorded)