Simonson, Alfred F.
(1917 – 1985)
Born in Hollywood, California on May 8, 1917, Alfred Fenwick Simonson came to the Pacific Northwest while in grammar school and graduated from Lincoln High School in Seattle. His formal architectural training was from the University of Washington, where he entered in 1935. Interrupted by World War II, Simonson graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture in May of 1944.
While in school, Simonson gained valuable experience working in the offices of architect George Stoddard (1937) and Jessie Warren (1938) and eventually took a job as a junior draftsman for the Continental Can Company (1939-1941). Awarded his architectural license in January of 1945, Simonson took advantage of the post-war building boom and opened his own independent architectural practice in 1946. For a brief period, he took on another partner, Edgar Putnam (1948-1949), but the partnership was short-lived and he resumed his independent practice by 1950.
Simonson’s designs ranged from banks to houses, to gas stations and industrial warehouses. Notable projects include 35 homes for builder Charles Cross, and 45 homes for developer S.H. Christianson. High-end homes for Roy Furse (1945) and Dr. Everett Cassell (1950), both in the Blue Ridge area of Seattle, brought many additional commissions.
Commercial projects include Ballard Federal Savings & Loan (1945); Audrey’s Beauty Salon (1938); several gas stations for Gilbert Berg; numerous stores for Food Giant; the Adams-Cooper Appliance Store (1945); and the Wallingford Boys Club (1952), all in Seattle. Outside of the city, Simonson’s projects also include a 56-unit condominium project in Maui, Hawaii; an industrial park for the Warehouse Terminal Company in Anchorage, Alaska; and the Center Plaza Building in Federal Way.
In 1960 he formed a short-lived partnership with Robert J. Dersham Jr. Projects under the Simonson-Dersham name include the curtain wall University District Office Building (1962); the Alderwood Manor Shopping Center (1964); the Robert L. Gays House (1965) in Mukliteo; and a 450 unit condominium project (1966) in Anchorage. Dersham left the firm in 1968 and Simonson continued his own independent practice.
Simonson passed away in Seattle at the age of 68 in May of 1985.
– Michael C Houser