Edgar L. Mills

Mills, Edgar L.

(1921 – 1967)

Born on June 7, 1921, in Tacoma, Edgar L. Mills received his architectural education primarily by on-the-job training. For reasons unknown, he spent just one year at an undisclosed college. Instead, Mills gained valuable experience by working for a variety of architectural firms including the Tacoma architectural firm of Heath, Gove & Bell, the firm of Rueger & Rueger, and for the firm of Lea, Pearsons & Richards for five plus years.

After receiving his architectural license in 1949, Mills formed a partnership with architect Arnold F. Jensen. Together, the firm of Jensen & Mills quickly established a high profile practice in Tacoma and began receiving many important commissions in the South Sound area.

Their projects include their own Architects Office (1955) in Tacoma; a Radio Communications Building (1952); the Holy Cross Catholic Church (1957); Apex Cleaners (1950); the Harrison Pistol Range (1953) for the Tacoma Police Department, Horace Mann Elementary School (1954); and Bellarmine Catholic Prep School Gym (1958) in Tacoma. Outside of the city projects include the Puyallup City Hall (1953); Evergreen Elementary School (1955) in Key Peninsula,;and Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church (1956) in Spanaway.

By 1959, the partnership had dissolved and Mills continued as a sole practitioner. Notable projects include St. Rose Catholic Church (1959) in Longview; the South Tacoma Branch Library (1959); Tacoma Fire Station No. 7 (1959); St. Nicholas Catholic Church (1959) in Gig Harbor, the Puyallup Public Library (1961); Meeker House Apartments (1961) in Puyallup, Holy Rosary Convent (1963) in Tacoma; the Allenmore Medical Center (1965) in Tacoma; the Skyline Presbyterian Church (1964), the Lake Spanaway Golf Course Clubhouse (1966); and a doctors’ hospital (1967) in Tacoma.

Mills’ design for Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium (1960) brought him much acclaim. His design for Elks Lodge No. 174 (1965) in Tacoma, was one of his largest projects. The building housed a lodge room which can seat 1,000, a dining room, and lounge with dance floor, billiards and pool tables, bocce courts, an indoor swimming pool, handball/racquetball courts, an exercise room, and a softball field.

Mills passed away in Tacoma on October 15, 1967.

– Michael C Houser

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