Tuesday, October 20, 2015

F. J. McFadden, Lorain Architect

Listing from the 1936 Lorain Telephone Company directory
(Note the McFaddens were still living above the Pueblo at Stop 109)
Local historian and author Al Doane emailed me last week about F. J. McFadden, the Lorain architect who, along with his wife, conceived and built the Pueblo.

442 Oberlin Avenue today
still has a picket fence around it
(Photo Courtesy Lorain County Auditor)
Al wrote, “As a kid I remember that he and his wife lived on the northwest corner of Fifth Street and Oberlin Avenue. When each spring rolled around, his wife would paint the wooden picket fence that bordered the corner lot.”
This was very helpful to me, because it made me aware that while the McFaddens were not listed in the Lorain City Directories in the early 1930s (because they lived above the Pueblo restaurant which was outside city limits), they were still in the area. They were easier to find in the phone books later on the 1930s when they apparently sold the restaurant and moved back into town to 442 Oberlin Avenue.
I did a little Googling and discovered that F. J. McFadden enjoyed a fine and productive career as an architect, which is highlighted in this front page account of his passing which ran in the Lorain Journal on July 14, 1954 (below).

McFadden Dies at 63
Heart Attack Fatal to Lorain Architect
A Lorain architect since 1918, F. J. McFadden, 63, 442 Oberlin, died at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday in his home. He was stricken with a heart attack.
A native of Titusville, Pa., Mr. McFadden graduated from Chamberlin Military Institute, N. Y. Valparaiso University and the University of Michigan.
Served in Two Wars
He served in both World War I and II. During the latter conflict he enlisted in the Army Engineers where he held a rank equivalent to colonel and supervised construction of war plants.
He is widely known for his architectural work here in designing and remodeling many buildings in the Lorain public school system. Currently four of his designs are under construction, Washington School, additions at Lakeview and Larkmoor Schools and remodeling of Garfield School.
Designed Two Atomic Plants
He was also architect for the original Larkmoor and Lakeview Schools, the high school arts building, Boone, Palm Avenue and new Fairhome Schools, the addition to Longfellow and Hawthorne Schools and remodeling of the high school auditorium and cafeteria.
Since the end of World War II he continued his association with the government, designing two atomic energy plants.
Mr. McFadden was a member of First Congregational Church, Lorain Masonic Lodge 552, Moose Lodge and American Institute of Architects. He was a past president of Lorain Rotary Club and an active member for 17 years.
Survivors are his wife, Mallie; one daughter, Mrs. Geraldine Kuhn, Marion, O.; his father, Jerome, and a sister, Miss Jessie McFadden, Hydetown, Pa.; four brothers, George and Byron, Lorain. Jerome, Cleveland, Sydney, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Friends may call at the Schwartz Home for Funerals this evening after 7. Masonic rites will be conducted Thursday evening at the funeral home.
Funeral services will be at 2 p. m. Friday in First Congregational Church with Rev. H. F. Loomis officiating. Burial will be in Ridge Hill Memorial Park Cemetery.
The family requests that memorial tribute be paid through donations to the Rotary Club for work with underprivileged children.
The Marion Star also published a story about F. J. McFadden on July 14, 1954 since his only daughter resided in that city. It reported that he died “while watching one of his favorite television programs.” It noted he had been in excellent health and had “returned home from the annual All-Star baseball game in Cleveland only a few hours earlier. He ate a hearty supper and sat down to watch TV after his return home.”
The article also included a few facts about McFadden's life. His wife was the former Mallie Ridgeway of Hydetown, the city where they were married in 1913.

They had resided in Lorain 35 years.

Incidentally, a small item in the October 1, 1919 edition of the American Architect mentioned that "H. O. Wurmster [sic], architect, of Loraine [sic], Ohio, has formed a partnership with F. J. McFadden and G. L. Slater. Both are graduates of the University of Michigan.


Loraine Ritchey said...

and I believe that home ( it was on tour once) 442 Oberlin appeared in one of the House Beautiful magazines - name escapes me for the moment - but Bob McDonald probably knows

Anonymous said...

I have seen that house a zillion times in my life, never knew who lived there, but wondered. Though it was an attractive house with its pickett frence.thanks for info. There are so many cool houses in lorain from days " gone by" that have gone into a neglected state. Very sad.