George L. Ekvall

Ekvall, George L.

(1895 – 1974)

Born in Tacoma in 1895, George Leonard Ekvall received his architectural education through on-the-job training. This included 10+ years in a variety of offices in Seattle and Tacoma, including a stint as a draftsman at the prominent Tacoma architectural firm of Heath & Gove (1917). During World War I, Ekvall served in the Army. He then formed a successful partnership with Charles F.W. Lundberg in Tacoma.

Together the Lundberg & Ekvall partnership (1925-1941) received a variety of commissions which included apartment buildings, residences and some institutional buildings. Notable projects in Tacoma include the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co. Garage (1931); the Lauan Apartments (1925); the Roosevelt Apartments (1929), the Evelyn Apartments (1925); the Bekins Moving & Storage Co. remodel (1931); and a proposal for a new Tacoma City Hall (1937).

When Lundberg retired in the late 1930s, Ekvall moved to Olympia where he worked as a draftsman for Joseph Wohleb. At the time, the Wohleb firm was engaged in several large commissions, including the O’Brien Building on the state capitol campus. By 1946, Ekvall had established his own practice and secured a role as chief architect for the Washington State Parks Commission.

During the late 1940s and early 1950s, the commission was rapidly acquiring new parks and expanding existing parks in order to meet a post Word War II visitor boom. Ekvall’s projects, executed in a modern interpretation of the Park Service Rustic style, included an interpretive sign for Sun Lakes/ Dry Falls Overlook (1946); development plans for Sun Lakes, Brooks Memorial, Conconully and Moses Lake; and various projects at Illahee, Saltwater, E. Bridgeport, Sylvia Lake and Twanoh State Parks (1940s).

Non-park projects include the Clow Apartments (1949) in Olympia; the VFW Hall (1948) in Coulee City; the Sear’s Store in Olympia (1952), the Centralia Fire Station (1956); and the Capitol Lake Bathhouse (1963) in Olympia.

Ekvall retired in 1973 and passed away in Olympia in February 1974 at the age of 78.

– Michael C Houser

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