Ernest Flagg

Ernest Flagg bigraphy, stories - American architect

Ernest Flagg : biography

February 6, 1857 – April 10, 1947

Sheldon Library, 1901 Lawrence Library, 1901 Ernest Flagg (February 6, 1857 – April 10, 1947) was a noted American architect in the Beaux-Arts style. He was also an advocate for urban reform and architecture’s social responsibility. The MIT Press

Selected writings

  • Small Houses: Their Economic Design and Construction (1922)
  • Le Naos du Parthenon (1928)


  • Scribner Building, New York City, 1893
  • Unused plan for the Washington State Capitol at Olympia, Washington, 1893
  • Gov. Samuel J. Tilden Monument, New Lebanon, New York, 1895–1896
  • St. Nicholas Skating Rink, 69 West 66th Street, New York – 1896 White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot; Leadon, Fran, , Oxford University Press, 2010. Cf. ., The New York Times, February 6, 2005
  • St. Luke’s Hospital, New York City, 1896
  • Mills House No. 1 / Greenwich Hotel, New York City, 1896
  • Mills House No. 2, New York City, 1897
  • Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1897
  • Indian Neck Hall, estate of Frederick Gilbert Bourne, Oakdale, New York, 1897
  • Engine Co. No. 33, New York City, 1898
  • Ernest Flagg residence, gatehouse and gate, Staten Island, New York, 1900
  • Cherokee Apartments, New York City, 1900
  • Armenian General Benevolent Union of America, New York City, c. 1900
  • Charlesbank Apartments, Boston, Massachusetts, c. 1900, demolished c. 1960
  • Sheldon Library (now admissions office), St. Paul’s School, Concord, New Hampshire, 1901
  • Lawrence Library, Pepperell, Massachusetts, 1901
  • Regency Whist Club, New York City, 1904
  • The Towers, a "castle" on Dark Island, St. Lawrence Seaway, 1905
  • Buildings at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, including Bancroft Hall (1901–1906), the Naval Academy Chapel (1908), Mahan Hall, Maury Hall, Sampson Hall, and the Superintendent’s residence
  • Clark Memorial Chapel, School House and Brick Dorms, Pomfret School, Pomfret, Connecticut, 1907
  • "Little" Singer Building, New York City, 1907
  • Singer Building, New York City, 1908, demolished 1968
  • Charles Scribner Residence, later Polish Delegation to the United Nations, New York City, 1912
  • Charles Scribner’s Sons Building, New York City, 1913
  • Merrill House, Vinegar Hill Historic District, Bloomington, Indiana, 1928. City of Bloomington: Bloomington Historic Preservation Commission, n.d. Accessed 2011-01-27.
  • Celtic Park apartments, Queens, New York, 1930Plunz, Richard. A History of Housing in New York City. Columbia University Press, New York: 1990. P. 213-214.
  • Flagg Court housing development, Brooklyn, New York, 1933–36


Flagg was born in Brooklyn, New York, and left school at 15 to work as an office boy on Wall Street. After working with his father and brothers in real estate for a few years, he designed duplex apartment plans in 1880 with the architect Philip Gengembre Hubert, for the co-operative apartment buildings Hubert was known for.

Cornelius Vanderbilt II, Flagg’s cousin through his marriage to Alice Claypoole Gwynne, Descendants of Bartholomew Flegg

was impressed by Flagg's work and sent him to study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1889–1891, under his patronage. In 1891, Flagg began his architectural practice in New York, greatly influenced by his knowledge of the French ideas of architectural design, such as structural rationalism. 

During this time he joined with John Prentiss Benson to create Flagg & Benson, which later became Flagg, Benson & Brockway with the addition of Albert Leverett Brockway. FB&B designed St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City.

In 1894, he established the architectural firm of Flagg & Chambers with Walter B. Chambers, whom he met in Paris. Usually, Flagg alone credited for some of the work he and Chambers worked on together, such as the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

His contributions to zoning and height regulations were essential to New York’s first laws governing this aspect of the city’s architecture. Flagg argued in favor of zoning laws which would regulate the height and setback of buildings, to allow light and air to reach the streets below them. Landmarks Preservation Commission He was a president of the New York Society of Beaux-Arts Architects. A small collection of Flagg’s personal and professional papers is held in the Department of Drawings & Archives at Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University.

Ernest Flagg married Margaret E. Bonnell on June 27, 1899 in New York City. They had one daughter, Betsey Flagg, who married John Melcher Descendants of Bartholomew Flegg – Ninth Generation. and become a well-respected small-scale portrait painter. Luce Foundation Center for American Art.

In 1912, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Flagg were on their way to a party held by Stowe Phelps, a fellow architect, when their limousine struck and killed a boy (James McNamara) who had suddenly skated in front of the car. The couple drove the boy to the hospital but he died en route. New York Times, February 24, 1912.