George W. Stoddard

Stoddard, George W.

(1896 – 1967)

A native of Detroit, George W. Stoddard earned his architectural engineering degree from the University of Illinois in 1917. He was immediately drafted into the military after graduation. During WWI, he served with the American expeditionary Forces in France (1917 to 1920). After the war, Stoddard joined his father’s (Lewis M. Stoddard) architectural practice in Seattle. The firm was renamed Stoddard and Son. Upon the death of his father in 1929, George established his own firm, George Wellington Stoddard & Associates. In 1955, he formed a partnership with Francis E. Huggard, naming their firm, George W. Stoddard-Huggard & Associates, Architects and Engineers.

The firm quickly became well known their work on schools, colleges, medical clinics, hospitals, and banks. Stoddard’s early work utilized the Moderne style, such as the Harlan Fairbanks Company (1931) on Elliott Avenue. However, after the war, he became fully committed to the tenants of modernism, and often pushed the architectural envelope. Among his more unique designs was the idea of “transportable schools”. The concept was based on the idea that a school could be developed around a central fireproof core, then individual classrooms or units could built (attached by a central corridor) and/or moved on and off the site as needs changed. Three elementary schools in Seattle were built on this model in 1949; Briarcliffe, Genesee Hill and Arbor Heights. Reportedly, these were the first of their kind in the United States.

The firm also designed numerous apartment, commercial, and retail buildings. Notable designs included Overlake High School in Bellevue (1946), Memorial Stadium (1947; now part of Seattle Center), and the Green Lake Aqua Theater in Seattle (1950), an addition to the University of Washington Stadium South Stands (1950), the National Bank of Commerce (1956) in downtown Seattle and several branch banks across the Sound, as well as the Chapel (1958) at Veterans Hospital on American Lake.

Active in Seattle’s civic life, Stoddard was a member of numerous organizations. They included serving on the State Hospital Advisory Council Executive Committee (1948 – 1949), the Seattle Civic Arts Committee (appointed as chairman in 1947), the King County Educational Advisory Committee (1950 – 1951), the King County Juvenile Advisory Committee (1952), the Rainier Club, the Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and the Municipal League. He also served on the board of the Seattle Symphony for many years. A member of the Washington State Chapter of the American Institute of Architects since 1922, Stoddard served as president of the chapter in 1946-1947.

Stoddard retired in 1960, and died in 1967 at the age of 71.

– Michael C Houser

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