Lawrence M. Baugh


Baugh, Lawrence M.

(1910 – 2000)

Prominent builder Lawrence “Larry” Marion Baugh was born on March 25, 1910 in Hastings, Nebraska. He graduated from Hastings High School in 1928. Upon graduation, Baugh attended school at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1931. However, it was the height of the Great Depression, and jobs were hard to find. Eventually Baugh moved to Texas and took a job as area engineer for the Brazos River Project. Eventually he landed a more traditional engineering job at the Freese & Nichols Consulting Engineers in Fort Worth, Texas. By 1940 he had moved to Seattle and was working with the civil engineering form of Sims & Drake. Reportedly during World War II, he conducted pioneering engineering work for the company that helped uncover oil fields in Venezuela.

In 1946 Baugh decided to form his own contractor business. Initially working out of his basement, the company (called by various names including Baugh Construction, Baugh Enterprises and Baugh Associates) focused on residential and small commercial projects. Classified advertising from the 1940’s shows the company offering construction services at $3.50 a square foot. Despite this humble beginning, the company gradually grew and took on larger and larger projects.

Formally incorporated in 1952, his Nephew, Robert “Bob” Baugh, joined the firm. Together they saw a period of rapid growth in the late 1950s to mid-1960s. By 1958, Baugh Construction had its first million-dollar project, Ballard High School. By 1965, the company had three projects worth at least one million each which was followed the next year by landing a $16 million-dollar contract to construct the North Seattle Community College Campus.

Projects were varied but included schools, churches, retail stores, hotels, and hospitals, all designed by a variety of architects.  Local Seattle projects included the Associated General Contractors Office (1955, with Nelson & Sabin); the WA Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Office Building (1956, with Robert Burman); the AAA office Building (1957, with John Graham); the Bricklayer’s Union Building (1959, with Grant, Copeland, Chervenak & Assoc.); the Yost Building (1959, with Thomas A. Smith), the King County Medical Services Corporation Building (1964, with Grant, Copeland, Chervenak & Assoc.); the Queen Anne Post Office and Regional Headquarters (1964, with Thomas A. Smith); Gem Plaza (1969, with Chester L. Lindsey); Winkenwerder Forest Sciences Building at UW (1964, with Grant, Copeland, Chervenak & Assoc.); Tower 801 (1970, with CBK Van Norman); the Roya Crest Condominiums (1972, with Whiteley, Jacobsen & Assoc.); the Park Place Building (1971, with VanSlyck, Callison & Nelson); and the Academic Computing Center at UW (1976, with Ibsen Nelsen).

Outside of the city, Baugh Construction built numerous buildings across the state including the Burien Pay N’ Save (1958, with Rushmore & Woodman), the Air Route Traffic Control Center in Auburn (1960), the Port of Tacoma Grain Facility (1962); the Valley General Hospital in Renton (1969, with Edward Durell Stone); Tower Mall in Vancouver (1970, with Thacker & Mayo); St. Joseph Hospital in Tacoma (1974, with Bertrand Goldberg Assoc); and the Cowlitz County Hall of Justice in Kelso (1976, with Newhall & Crook).

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the company continued to grow and received projects beyond the state. For his efforts, in 1976 Lawrence Baugh was declared the Engineer of the Year by the Washington Society of Professional Engineers. He retired in the early 1990s, and the company was merged with the international construction firm Skanska in 2000.

Baugh passed away in Bellevue on September 13, 2000.

– Michael C Houser

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