Richard A. Waite bigraphy, stories - American architect

Richard A. Waite : biography

May 14, 1848 - January 7, 1911

Richard A. Waite (May 14, 1848 – January 7, 1911) was a British-born American architect in the late 19th century.

Personal and death

Waite's mother died in 1862 and his wife Sarah in 1901. Waite was survived by Sarah, brother William T (also an architect) and his children:

  • son Richard Alfred Waite II (January 30, 1874 – March 11, 1961) studied architecture at Cornell University, but changed to theology at Syracuse University due to poor health. His son became a Methodist minister and died in St. Louis, Missouri. Waite is buried with his wife at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo.
  • Helen Holloway Waite (November 16, 1871 – December 6, 1949)
  • Raymond Isaac Waite, (October 18, 1875 – death unknown)
  • Evadne Holland Waite (October 1, 1879 – 1958)
  • Mary Sarah Waite (December 26, 1880 – March 3, 1956)

Early years

Richard A. Waite was born in London in 1848 as one of seven children (surviving included William T, Helen and Jennie) of Charles Henry Waite and his wife Harriet Humphries Holland. Richard Waite's father arrived in America in 1856 with his wife and children and settled in Buffalo, New York to work in a printing company.

Education and career

Richard like many early architects, learned building design as an apprentice. He studied mechanical engineering in New York City under John Ericsson, the inventor of the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor.

Waite returned to Buffalo in 1874 as a fully trained architect. His 1869 marriage to Sarah Holloway, daughter of local contractor Isaac Holloway, afforded him several public works commissions. In 1876, he made architectural history by hiring Louise Blanchard Bethune as a draftsman. She went on to become the first professional woman architect in the United States.

Although Waite built many homes in the Buffalo area, some of his best-known commissions were in Canada and Scotland.

A list of some of Waite's accomplishments:

  • Pierce's Palace Hotel, Buffalo, New York, 1878 - on Porter Avenue; burned down 1881 now site of D'Youville College campus at Prospect Park
  • Walden-Myer Mausoleum, Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, New York
  • Buffalo German Insurance Company, Buffalo, New York, 1875 - located at Main and Lafayette Square; demolished ca. 1957 and replaced by Tishman Building
  • Birk's Building Hamilton, Ontario 1883 - later as Canada Life Insurance Head Office, demolished 1972 (now part of Gore Park)
    • Birks "Clock of the Charging Horsemen" restored nearby in 1986
  • Canada Life Assurance Company Building, Montreal, Quebec 1898 - now St. Regis condos
  • Grand Trunk Railway Company Limited Building, Montreal 1906 - 360 ru McGill now Édifice Gérald-Godin (home to Ministry of Immigration and Cultural Communities)
  • Ontario Legislative Buildings, Toronto 1892

Mr. Waite also helped design the Oliver Opera House in South Bend, Indiana. This opera house was built by James and Joseph Doty Oliver, both founders of the Oliver Chilled Plow Works located in South Bend, Indiana. James Oliver was the inventor of the Chilled Plow.

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