Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Grace Crosby- Architectural Architect

Grace Crosby is significant in Fort Wayne history as the city’s first and most prolific female architect. The 1894-1895 Fort Wayne city directory lists her first employment as tracer of architectural plans. Grace’s specific employer was not listed. The city directory listing of women in this period are inconsistent. In 1898 the directory listed her again as a “clerk .
In the 1900 city directory she was listed as draughtswoman for Alfred Grindle. Again, in 1905, Crosby was listed as “draughtswoman at Alfred Grindle. It is likely that Grace Crosby worked for Alfred Grindle from c 1894 to 1909.
The 1910 Fort Wayne directory lists Grace E. Crosby for the first time as “Architect’ at Wildwood builders.” She continued with this title, with one listing as “clerk” in 1913 through 1915.
In 1917 she briefly had her own architectural company. Due to local architects either enlisted in the U. S Army or relocated in Washington D. C. assisting with World War I effort, Grace probably had the opportunity to form her own company which was located at 409 E. Berry Street.
In the 1918 directory Crosby was listed as “designer, at Steele-Myers Department Store, 113-117 W. Berry. Since she had owned a design company with Joel Roberts Ninde, Grace had the experience to work as a display designer and perhaps a interior designer.
By 1919 Crosby was employed as a “draftsman” for the Bowser Pump Company. Bowser had active design and printing departments that designed and illustrated gas pumps, filling stations, and elaborate catalogs and corporate publications.
Although city directories do not list Crosby’s employment after 1927, she likely completed her career working for architect Leroy Bradley. Together Bradley and Crosby worked at Griffith and Goodrich. Bradley formed his own company of Bradley and Babcock. According to her obituary Crosby retired in 1930 after 35 years in the architectural field. She died in 1962 at the age of 88.

Kreagor Smith -Information obtained from Staff Review of Local Historic District Petition- Petitioner Steven N. Nagy-July 23, 2007

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