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James Riely Gordon, Architect

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Chronology: James Riely Gordon



Born Winchester, Virginia. After the Civil War, Gordon's father worked in Washington, D. C. as a civil engineer.



The family moved to San Antonio.


1879 1880

Gordon worked for the Civil Engineering Corps of the 1880 International and Great Northern Railway.


1881 1882

Gordon apprenticed in the architectural office of W. K. Dobson of San Antonio, not with Dodson of Waco as is often reported.



Gordon established his own independent practice in San Antonio.


1888 1889

Supervised construction of the United States Post Office and Courthouse in San Antonio.



The Staake Bros. Building in San Antonio completed. Gordon joins the Texas State Association of Architects (founded 1886).


1890 1891

Gordon established a partnership with D. E. Laub of San Antonio.



Gordon won the competition for the Bexar County Courthouse which was built 1892-6.

Married Mary Lamar Sprigg of San Antonio.



Waco natatorium

Kalteyer Residence, San Antonio

Won the competition for the Texas Pavilion for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.



Cotton Palace, Waco, which burned the same year.


1894 1896

Ellis County Courthouse, Waxahachie.


1896 1898

St. Paul's Sanitarium, Dallas (demolished 1968)

Linz Building, Dallas (demolished 1963)



Gordon won the competition for the Mississippi State Capitol, but was soon dismissed by the governor for his leadership in a movement to restrict the competition to AIA members only.



Won the competition for the Arizona Territorial Capitol in Phoenix on which he worked for the next two years.


1900 1902

McLennan County Courthouse, Waco

Carnegie Library, San Antonio



Vicksburg, Mississippi City Hall completed.

Gordon moves to New York to become the partner of Alfred Zucker, designer of the well-known Hotel Majestic and Progress Club and one of Manhattan's most prolific architects in the last ten years of the previous century. Gordon, with Zucker, designs the Wilkinson, Mississippi, County Courthouse.



Zucker skips the country for as yet unknown reasons. Lives out the rest of his life in Montevideo.



Gordon enters into partnership with Evarts Tracy and Egerton Swartwout.


1906 1907

Gordon takes a tour of Europe. His itinerary includes France Italy and Germany.



Partnership with Tracy and Swartwout dissolved. Gordon once again begins practice on his own.


1909 1911

Gordon designs the mammoth Bergen County Courthouse in Hackensack, New Jersey, the best realized of his Beaux-arts courthouses.



Gordon is invited to participate in the New York County Courthouse Competition along with McKim, Mead, & White and Cass Gilbert. Although Gordon's design--a later one than the columns of justice scheme-- receives acclaim in the New York papers, Guy Lowell's circular design was selected.



1914 1924

Design and construction of the Cambria County Courthouse, Ebensburg, Pennsylvania.



Elected to his first of thirteen terms as president of the New York Society of Architects.


1922 1924

Gordon designs the Cortland County, New York, Courthouse, Jail, and World War I Veterans Memorial.



Appointed chairman of the Architects' joint Committee to prepare a new building code for the City of New York.

Declined another term as president of the N. S. A. Appointed permanent honorary president.



Member of the Advisory Committee for revising the New York Multiple Dwelling Law.


1932 1933

Instrumental in 'Writing the Code of Professional Practice and Schedule of Minimum Charges of the New York Society of Architects.


1936 1937

Served on the New York Building Safety Committee.



Died at his home in Pelham Heights, New York, after a brief illness. Age 73.


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