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George Browne Post (December 15, 1837 – November 28, 1913) was an American architect trained in the Beaux-Arts tradition.[1] Many of his most characteristic projects were for commercial buildings where new requirements pushed the traditional boundaries of design. Many have been demolished, since their central locations in New York and other cities made them vulnerable to rebuilding in the twentieth century. Some of his lost buildings were regarded as landmarks of their era. He was active from 1869 almost until his death in 1913. His sons, who had been taken into the firm in 1904, continued as George B. Post and Sons through 1930. [2]

George Browne Post
George Browne Post.jpg
6th President of the American Institute of Architects
In office
1896–1898
Preceded byDaniel H. Burnham
Succeeded byHenry Van Brunt
Personal details
Born(1837-12-15)December 15, 1837
Manhattan, New York
DiedNovember 28, 1913(1913-11-28) (aged 75)
Bernardsville, New Jersey
Spouse(s)
Alice Matilda Stone
(m. 1863)
Children5
ParentsJoel Browne Post
Abby Mauran Church

Post's eight-story Equitable Life Assurance Society (1868–70), was the first office building designed to use elevators; Post himself leased the upper floors when contemporaries predicted they could not be rented.[3] His Western Union Telegraph Building (1872–75) at Dey Street in Lower Manhattan, was the first office building to rise as high as ten stories, a forerunner of skyscrapers to come. When it was erected in "Newspaper Row" facing City Hall Park, Post's twenty-story New York World Building (1889–90) was the tallest building in New York City.

Contents

BiographyEdit

Post was born on December 15, 1837 in Manhattan, New York to Joel Browne Post and Abby Mauran Church.[4] After graduating from New York University in 1858 with a degree in civil engineering, Post became a student of Richard Morris Hunt from 1858 to 1860. In 1860, he formed a partnership with a fellow student in Hunt's office, Charles D. Gambrill, with a brief hiatus for service in the Civil War. Post served as the sixth president of the American Institute of Architects from 1896 to 1899.

Among the prominent private houses by Post were the French chateau for Cornelius Vanderbilt II (1879–82) that once stood at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street (that was photographed by Albert Levy while being built), and the palazzo that faced it across the street, for Collis P. Huntington (1889–94). In Newport, Rhode Island he built for the president of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, C.C. Baldwin, "Chateau-Nooga" or the Baldwin Cottage (1879–80), a polychromatic exercise in the "Quaint Style" with bargeboards and half-timbering; John La Farge provided stained glass panels. He also designed more staid public and semi-public structures including the New York Stock Exchange Building, the Bronx Borough Hall and the Wisconsin State Capitol.

In 1893, Post was named to the architectural staff of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois by Burnham and Root,[5] where he designed the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building.

A true member of the American Renaissance, Post engaged notable artists and artisans to add decorative sculpture and murals to his architectural designs. Among those who worked with Post were the sculptor Karl Bitter and painter Elihu Vedder. Post was a founding member of the National Arts Club, serving as president from 1898 to 1905. In 1905, his two sons were taken into the partnership, and they continued to lead the firm after Post's death, notably as the designers of many Statler Hotels in cities across the United States. From that time forward, the firm carried on under the stewardship of Post's grandson, Edward Everett Post (1904–2006) [6] until the late twentieth century.[citation needed]

Post trained architect Arthur Bates Jennings.[7]

One of post's major works was the Vanderbilt Mansion, co-designed with Richard Morris Hunt, this English Jacobethan Gothic red-brick and limestone chateau stood at the corner of East 57th Street and 5th Avenue and was one of the most opulent single-family homes of its time. It featured a lavishly scrolled cast-iron gate forged in Paris (now in Central Park), sculptural reliefs by Karl Bitter (now in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel), an ornate reddish-brown marble fireplace sculpted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art), and elaborate interior decoration by Frederick Kaldenberg, John LaFarge, Philip Martiny, Frederick W. MacMonnies, Rene de Quelin, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens and his brother Julius. The mansion was razed in 1927 for the construction of the Bergdorf Goodman department store.[8]

Sarah Landau's publication George B. Post, Architect: Picturesque Designer and Determined Realist (1998) inspired a retrospective exhibition in 1998–99 to revisit Post's work at the Society. In 2014, curator, architect George Ranalli presented an exhibition of Post's drawings and photographs of the design of the City College of New York's main campus buildings, on loan from the New York Historical Society.[9][10]

He received the AIA Gold Medal in 1911.[11] His extensive archive is in the collection at the New-York Historical Society.

He married Alice Matilda Stone (1840-1909) on October 14, 1863. They had five children: George Browne, Jr., William Stone, Allison Wright, James Otis and Alice Winifred.

Post died on November 28, 1913 in Bernardsville, New Jersey.[1][4] He is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City.

List of worksEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Geo. B. Post Dead; Noted Architect. Designer of New York Stock Exchange and Many Famous Buildings Was Almost 76. Planned Vanderbilt Home. Awarded Gold Medal of American Institute of Architects in 1910. Also Honored by France". New York Times. 1913-11-29. George B. Post, founder of the firm of George B. Post Son, architects of 101 Park Avenue and designer of many famous buildings in this city and throughout the ...
  2. ^ "George B.Post and Sons". Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western University. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  3. ^ Winston Weisman, "The Commercial Architecture of George B. Post" The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 31.3 (October 1972), pp. 176-203. Many details in this article are drawn from Weisman's sketch of Post's career.
  4. ^ a b "George B. Post". Retrieved 2014-08-22. An architect, died November 28, 1913, at his summer home in Bernardsville, New Jersey. He was born December 15, 1837 in New York City. ...
  5. ^ Weisman 1972:176
  6. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths
    POST, EDWARD EVERETT"
    . New York Times. 2006-09-05. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
  7. ^ "Guide to the Jennings Photograph Collection 1858-1957". The New-York Historical Society. 2003. Retrieved 2010-04-25.
  8. ^ Waldman, Benjamin. "Then & Now: Remnants of the Vanderbilt Mansion in New York City." Untapped Cities, February 1, 2012.
  9. ^ Gray, Christopher (12 January 2014). "Streetscapes: City College -The Very Model of a University". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  10. ^ George Ranalli (2013). City University of New York (ed.). "Building the modern Gothic : George Post at City College" (exh. cat.). New York, NY: CUNY: 53 pages : chiefly illustrations (some color), portraits, plans, facsimiles, 26 cm. OCLC 871036277.
  11. ^ Post's numerous other positions of honor are noted in Weisman 1972:176.
  12. ^ "HB Reformed Church :: History". www.hbreformedchurch.org.
  13. ^ "Then and Now: Five Lost Buildings by George B. Post," Weylin, July 7, 2015.
  14. ^ "Then and Now: Five Lost Buildings by George B. Post," Weylin, July 7, 2015.
  15. ^ Weisman, Winston. "The Commercial Architecture of George B. Post." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 31, No. 3 (October 1972), pp. 176-203.
  16. ^ Weisman, Winston. "The Commercial Architecture of George B. Post." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 31, No. 3 (October 1972), pp. 176-203.
  17. ^ "Then and Now: Five Lost Buildings by George B. Post," Weylin, July 7, 2015.
  18. ^ "Then and Now: Five Lost Buildings by George B. Post," Weylin, July 7, 2015.
  19. ^ Weisman, Winston. "The Commercial Architecture of George B. Post." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 31, No. 3 (October 1972), p. 189.

ReferencesEdit

  • Landau, Sarah Bradford, George B. Post: Picturesque Designer and Determined Realist, the Monacelli Press, New York, 1998

External linksEdit