William H. Carleton

Carleton, William H.

(1909 – 1984)

William Hodder Carleton, born 1909 in South Prairie, WA, spent his childhood in Nome, Alaska, before arriving in Seattle in 1919. He attended Stanford University and received a Master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Washington. Upon graduation, he served as a draftsman for George W. Stoddard (1934-1942).

After WWII, in 1946, Carleton joined the firm of Young & Richardson. Architects Arrigo Young and Stephen Richardson had strong roots in the historical revival styles of the 1930s, but by 1941 had transitioned their practice to meet the needs of postwar Seattle. Carleton became a full partner in the growing firm and was joined in the partnership by John Detlie in 1952.

Under the name “Young, Richardson, Carleton & Detlie,” the firm produced a wide variety of projects. Among their most notable works was Gaffney’s Lake Wilderness Lodge which received a National AIA Honor Award in 1952. The Gaffney’s commission brought the firm local and national acclaim, as well as additional high-profile projects. Other projects included Terry Hall (1953), Lander Hall (1957) and McCarty Hall (1963) at the University of Washington, Seattle Parks Department Administration Building (1948), Seattle Children’s Orthopedic Hospital (1953), Gethsemane Lutheran Church (1954), and Carl Erickson House at Hunts Point (1954).

Many of their projects were widely published. Articles appeared in Pacific Architect & Builder, Architectural Record, Architectural Record’s A Treasury of Contemporary Houses series (1953), House & Home, Sunset, and Progressive Architecture. Detlie left the firm in 1956 and the name was changed to Young, Richardson & Carleton.

Young, Richardson & Carleton continued to design many Modernist projects, including Issaquah High School (1961), concourses at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (1963-1965), Bloedel Hall addition to St. Mark’s Cathedral (1957-1959), Seattle Unity Church of Truth (1960) in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, National Bank of Commerce (1961) in Renton, Service Center for Seattle City Light (1965) and State Office Building No. 2 (1975) in Olympia.

In 1967, the firm became “The Richardson Associates,” and eventually known by its initials as just “TRA.” It remained one of the largest Seattle architectural firms until the mid-1990s, with projects located throughout the United States and abroad. Carleton officially retired from the firm in 1974 and died in Seattle on August 25, 1984.

– Michael C Houser


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