Donald M. Wilson

Wilson, Donald M.

(1920 – 1997)

Born on August 15, 1920 in Camas, Washington, Donald Malcolm Wilson graduated from Cleveland High School in Seattle. He became a draftsman at the age of 19 and then attended the University of Washington School of Architecture. According to his state architectural license application, he never formally graduated and instead learned by on-the-job training. By 1946, Wilson was associated with Seattle architect John I. Mattson eventually serving as his chief designer, draftsman and specification writer. Wilson officially received his architectural license on July 6, 1950. At the time, he was an associate in Mattson’s firm. 

His talents as a designer were recognized early on.  In August of 1947 one of his designs was featured in the Seattle Times featured series, “A Puget Sound Home.”  By the 1950s he had become a favorite by many builders and he was chosen to design their featured homes at their annual home show.  The 1951 model house dubbed the “Northwesterner” was a contemporary one-story dwelling featured an unusual triangular-shaped fireplace, while the 1953 home (the “Town and Country” ), was a split level with flying wing style roof plate.

Other notable design include the Aksel Fiksdal House (1953) in Seattle, a house at 2640 SW Olga St (1952) also in Seattle, the Dr. Floyd Hamstrom House (1954) in Burlington and the Burlington Fire & Police Station (1956), the Best Pie Company factory (1953), and addition to the Northgate Medical Center Addition (1955), and Gai’s French Bakery expansion (1957).

Company records from the Truss-Plus LLC Modular Structures Company notes that Wilson designed their patented “Arch-Truss System.” The building system incorporates a stud wall and roof truss in an easy to assemble folding roof frame system, designed to be used for sheds and small structures. While the exact date of this invention is unknown, it appears that Wilson created the unique building system in the mid 1960s.  

He divorced in 1969, and then remarried in 1971. Changes in his life may have resulted in his departure from Seattle.  In 1974 he opened a office in Fairbanks, Alaska and remained their until his retirement.

Wilson died on July 3, 1997, and is buried at the Acacia Memorial Park in Seattle.

– Michael C Houser

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