New York Beginnings:Information about Richard Alfred Waite
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Richard Alfred Waite (b. 14 May 1848, d. 07 Jan 1911)
Richard Alfred Waite (son of Charles Henry Waite and Harriet Humphries Holland)469, 470, 471, 472, 473, 474, 475 was born 14 May 1848 in London, England, and died 07 Jan 1911 in New York, New York476.He married Sarah Elvira Holloway on 22 Sep 1869 in Buffalo, NY477, daughter of Isaac Holloway and Mary Ann Allen.
Notes for Richard Alfred Waite:
CERTIFIED COPY OF AN ENTRY OF BIRTH, GIVEN AT THE GENERAL REGISTER OFFICE:1848 Birth in the Sub-district of St. George Camberwell in the County of Surrey, No. 199, fourteenth May 1848, 2 Gloucester Terrace, East Albany Road, Richard, Boy, Charles Henry Waite, Harriet Humphries Waite, formerly Holland;Occupation of father--Mercantile Clerk;Informant-- H. H. Waite, Mother, 2 Gloucester Terrace, East Albany Road, Reg. 23 June 1848, Charles Stevens, Registrar.Certificate No. BCAZ 14760
Richard Waite 27, is with his wife, Sarah, 27 and children, Helen 3, Richard 1 ½, Jennie Waite 24, sister, and a servant. Richard was an architect and is cited as born in England. Everyone else was born in Erie County.
"No one can contemplate the stately proportions and admire the splendid interior arrangement of the new Music Hall without a desire to know something of the architect of this noble structure, Mr. Richard A. Waite.Mr. Waite was born in London, England, May 14, 1848, and is a descendant of an old Somerset family who have borne their arms, crest, and motto since 1612.One ancestor was the Rev. D. G. Waite, LL.D., F. S. (?) and another the Rev. R. Waite, LL. C., A. M.In the year 1856 Mr. Waite's father emigrated with his family to America, and after a brief experience in New York came to Buffalo.Thus the boyhood and school-days of our subject were passed chiefly in this city.Having a distaste for a college career, Mr. Waite began quite early in life to learn the machinist's trade in conformity with the wish of his father that he should fit himself for the profession of a mechanical engineer.After three years experience in the workshop, he entered the draughting department of the largest marine engine works in New York City, and while there employed was first led to contemplate architecture as a profession.An exceptional opportunity to engage in the new calling presented itself in the office of one of the leading metropolitan architects, and he there acquitted himself so well that the engagement was made permanent.This business relation continued some years, when Mr. Waite was led to the conclusion that it was expedient to devote his time and talents exclusively to his own work.
"Mr. Waite was first brought to public attention while visiting in this city in 1872.Being invited to prepare a suggestive exterior design for the City and County Hall in place of the one accepted, he submitted a perspective of which the local press said ' Although hampered by the foundations as laid, his design is in harmony with the popular idea of what a great city hall should be--handsome, compact, noble in its proportions, and with a striking character of its own.'In the fall of 1873 Mr. Waite was engaged to prepare the plans and superintend the erection of the Buffalo German Insurance company's building and before the completion of this attractive and permanent iron structure he was commissioned to erect what was in its day Buffalo's proudest architectural ornament--Pierce's Palace Hotel, which was destroyed by fire in February, 1881.
"Each year thereafter brought its full quantum of work.Among the structures which he designed were office and bank buildings, hotels, stores, theatres, schoolhouses, and fine dwellings in this and other cities.One of his masterpieces is the New Music Hall, which contains much that is unique and is generally conceded to contain more points of excellence than any other great public hall in America.The chief work which is now engrossing Mr. Waite's attention is the new Parliament and Departmental Building of the Province of Ontario at Toronto.The details of this vast and complex structure, together with the requirements of several fire-proof bank and office structures, which he makes his specialty, have compelled him for some months to decline all new work, among those offered having been a number of large structures in this and other cities.It is Mr. Waite's safe rule to undertake no more than he can personally perform or supervise.Accordingly, while his work displays a decided versatility, it is all characterized by an impulse toward the massive and grand, every one of his buildings being expressive in elevation, well arranged in plan, and permanent in construction." (1)
"Graduating at the age of fourteen and at that time having a distaste for college life, he began to lay the practical foundation for becoming a mechanical engineer, working at the lathe and vise as well as draughting upon models for the patent office.for two years he studied in New York under the instruction of that pre-eminent inventor, Mr. John Ericson, of "Monitor" fame, and while so engaged was led to think of the architectural profession.A most opportune position was offered in the office of Mr. John Kellem, who was then a leading architect of New York City.Here his training and intelligent appreciation of the working of iron did him good service, as iron construction was being largely used, and was then but little known to the architectural profession.
In addition to his architectural studies he also sought the mathematical studies at Cooper Institute, as well as instruction from a sculptor of talent.Thus all day he worked in an office and every evening pursued studies, realizing one must aim high with thoughts concentrated wholly on his work to attain any excellence whatever.
In 1870 Mr. Waite returned to Buffalo to marry Miss Sarah E., the oldest daughter of Mr. Isaac Holloway, one of Buffalo's most worthy and well-known citizens.Concluding to reside here, Mr. Waite engaged in relief line engraving for the United States patent office reports.At the same time he began his professional life, carrying out commissions as they were presented.While so engaged he was waited on to prepare a suggestive exterior superstructure design for the city and county hall.Following this honorable introduction, Mr. Waite was obliged to devote his entire time to his profession, being called upon to design churches, business blocks and dwellings, when in the fall of 1874 "the chance" for which he longed for came:the adoption of his design for the Buffalo German Insurance Company's building, executed wholly in iron, a mode of construction at that time most popular.
Since that time Mr. Waite has been busily engaged with the construction of hotels, theatres, asylums, banks, office buildings, wholesale warehouses and retail stores, dwellings and monuments.The variety which the list reveals is of interest as well as significance.
"Locally Mr. Waite is well known by his many efforts, among them the Music Hall, and more recently the Women's Union and the Grovenor Library.Fourteen years ago Mr. Waite was commissioned to erect the head offices of the Western Assurance Company, of Toronto, a refined and interesting study executed in rich brown stone.His experience and talents were at once recognized and he has since been constantly commissioned to erect banks, office buildings and warehouses, prominent among them the 'Mail' building, a well massed structure; the Canadian Bank of Commerce, a superb structure, delightfully elaborate in may of its parts and generally pronounced as the most artistic building in Canada; the Canada Life Assurance Company's building, an imposing structure of striking individuality yet not eccentric; in Hamilton, Ontario, the head offices of the same assurance company, Gothic in style, treatment extremely impressive, with well arranged features and simple dignity of expression.directly opposite, the Bank of Hamilton is another delightful study of the Italian school, rich in detail, quiet, yet animated. Mr. Waite, having so well sustained himself in Canada as a skillful adaptor and artistic constructionist as well as business man, he was in the year 1886 honored with the commission to build the new Parliament and Departmental Buildings for the province of Ontario, a structure larger than the State Capitol at Albany.A visit to this now nearly completed, vast and complex, essentially aesthetical national monument is necessary for an analysis of the scholarly 'eclectic meeting of the practical or expressional needs demanded of the inventive and showing absence of reproductive efforts; with its sternness of expression, looking firm and full of resistance--a building that will fight the storms of a century." (4)
"........Mr. Waite's special strength lies in the fact that he combines a theoretic with a practical knowledge of building.Previously to entering upon his chosen career he devoted considerable time to mechanical engineering, thus laying a broad foundation for the more artistic work he was to take up.He had such masters as Ericsson, of "Monitor" fame, and John Kellum, New York's most prominent architect in the sixties.
"Mr. Waite is an Englishman by birth, having been born in what is now a part of London; but he came to the United States when a lad, and was educated in the public schools here.He has pursued his profession in Buffalo since 1871, and has established a wide reputation among his professional brethren, who are best qualified to appreciate the value and merit of his work.His first building of any magnitude was the German Insurance Co. edifice, at the corner of Main and Lafayette Streets, Buffalo.Other structures of importance in the same city designed by him are the Women's Union, Music Hall, the Grosvenor Library, Pierce's Palace Hotel (since destroyed by fire), and the General Myers mausoleum at Forest Lawn.
"To get an adequate idea of the scope and extent of Mr. Waite's achievements as an architect, one must study the work that he has done away from his home and even from his adopted country.Canada, and especially the city of Toronto, has his masterpieces, which rank among the most important and successful examples of the highest class of modern architecture.For six years, commencing in 1886, Mr. Waite was engaged in the planning and the construction of the Ontario Parliament buildings at Toronto.This was a stupendous undertaking, and the brilliantly successful execution of the work quickly and justly gave Mr. Waite a high position in the ranks of his profession.This magnificent structure, known in its entirety as the Parliament and Departmental Buildings, includes withinits walls over 76,000 square feet, and shows in all its architectural details vigorous, masterful, and highly artistic treatment.Not the least noteworthy feature of the work is the fact that the undertaking was entirely completed promptly, and within the original estimates.The Toronto Globe truly remarks that 'the completion of such a building without extras or disputes is probably a unique and unprecedented occurrence and no other instance is known of a public edifice of such magnitude erected at so small a cost.'
"While the Parliament building must be regarded as Mr. Waite's chef-d'oeuvre, for the present at least, the account of his professional achievements would be quite incomplete, if the record were to stop here.He is said to be the first American architect employed by Her Majesty's government, and probably no other American architect has received so many important commissions from Her Majesty's subjects.In the construction of buildings for banks and insurance companies, Mr. Waite has especially distinguished himself.He designed buildings for the Western Assurance Co. at Toronto, the Canada Life Assurance Co. at Hamilton, Toronto, and Montreal, the Standard Life Assurance Co. at Montreal, and the head offices of the same company at Glasgow, Scotland.The Bank of Hamilton at Hamilton, Ont., and the Canadian Bank of Commerce at Toronto, together with the Mail and Empire building at Toronto, are notable additions to Mr. Waite's list of architectural triumphs.Among his works in western cities may be mentioned the Oliver Opera House (and office building) at South Bend, Ind.
"Personal Chronology--Richard Alfred Waite was born at Camberwell, county of Surrey, England, May 14, 1848; came to the United States and settled in Buffalo in 1856; married Sarah E. Holloway of Buffalo September 22, 1869; has pursued the profession of architecture in Buffalo since 1871." (2)
"Waite, Richard Alfred.Buffalo, son of Charles Henry and Harriet Humphreys (Holland) Waite, was born in London, England, May 14, 1848, and came with his parents to America in 1857.The family first settled in New York City, but later removed to Buffalo..........Mr. Waite attended public school No. 16, Buffalo, and received his mechanical training in New York City under John Ericsson, the inventor of the Monitor, with whom he remained a little more than three years.At Mr. Ericsson's suggestion he took up architecture, which he studied under John Kellum of New York, who was then one of the leading architects in the United States.In 1874 Mr. Waite returned to Buffalo as the designer and superintendent of the German Insurance building, and since then he has successfully followed the general practice of his profession in this city.Among the many noted buildings in Buffalo which Mr. Waite has designed may be mentioned the Commercial Advertiser building, Dr. R. V. Pierce's old Palace Hotel, the new Music Hall, the Grosvenor Library building and the building of the Women's Educational and Industrial Union.He also designed the Parliament and the Department buildings of the Province of Ontario, Canada; the Canada Life Insurance Company's buildings in Hamilton, Toronto, and Montreal, Canada; the Canadian Bank of Commerce, the Mail-Empire buildings, the Western Insurance Company building and the Jones block in Toronto, the Standard Life Insurance Company's building in Edinburgh, Scotland; the Bank of Hamilton in Hamilton, Ontario, and numerous other buildings and dwellings in Buffalo, Canada, and elsewhere.He is credited with being the first American architect to be employed by the Canadian government.Mr. Waite was married September 22, 1856 (sic) to Sarah E., daughter of Isaac Holloway of Buffalo, and they have five children........" (3)
"......It was in the line of the eminent fitness of things that the plans selected for the first prize by the Music Hall Committee should have been those of one of the leading architects in the city, Richard A. Waite, esq., whose name is identified with some of them substantial structures recently erected in Buffalo, and whose fame extends beyond the confines of the United States, into Canada, where some of the finest public and private buildings stand in proud magnificence to testify to the genius and high quality of his workmanship....." (From files at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, source unknown, dated 8-1-1885)
"A book promoting Buffalo business published in the 1880's reveals even more about Waite at the prime of his career:'Our American cities are gradually becoming adorned by buildings which European countries might well be proud of, and although, as in all new countries, the United States for many years was deficient in any kind of architectural pretension, she is now redeeming her name in this respect.In the comparatively new and growing cities this fact is particularly to be notice, and the thriving, go-ahead, and prosperous city of Buffalo has for the last twenty-five years been showing his sister municipalities what can be done in the matter of erecting handsome and attractive private residences and public buildings.Among the prominent architects in the city is Mr. Richard A. Waite, whose office is in the German Insurance Building, which was erected upon plans and drawings made by himself.
"Mr. Waite is a native of England, and came to this country when but nine years of age.For over eight years he studied architecture in all its branches in the city of New York,, and when selecting a locality where his talents would be appreciated, fortunately determined to settle in Buffalo.His genius immediately became known, and he has for the last eleven years had an uninterrupted career of success and prosperity.He has made the plans and specifications for many of the leading buildings that during the last decade have been erected in this section, notable among which may be mentioned Dr. Pierce's Palace Hotel whose cost was in the neighborhood of half a million of dollars, the German Insurance Building, costing at least half the above sum, the Western Insurance Building, and out of the city has made designs for many notable structures, particularly in Canada.He was the architect for the Mail Building in Toronto, Canada, The Standard Insurance Company's building in Montreal, The Canada Life Insurance Company's Building in Hamilton, Ontario, and numerous other notable structures in the United States and the British possessions
"Mr. Waite, have a proper knowledge of the laws of form and the lines of beauty, may be depended upon to always erect structures of symmetry and magnificence.He does more than this by attending to the laws of health and hygiene, and it will be noticed that all of the buildings erected in accordance with his plans are light, well ventilated, and well drained from cellar to roof.He is devoted to his art, and has done much to increase the adornment and substantial value of the city." (7)
From obituary for R. A. Waite, published in a Buffalo newspaper, January 8, 1911, following commentary regarding the same information provided above from other sources:"........Mr. Waite came to Buffalo with his father, Charles Henry Waite, who was a member of the firm of Matthews, Clapp & Waite, publishers of the Buffalo Express.(At) 21 years of age, he engaged in the business of architecture in this city which he continued with his brother William T. Waite, until about five years ago, when he left for New York City to take up special work for corporate interests there.He was conspicuous in the development of fire-proof construction and designed the first fireproof building erected in this city.
"He is survived by his brother, William T. Waite, who is in charge of the Buffalo office, and five children, Mrs. Charles A. Bonney of this city, Mrs. George R. Spavin of Webster, N. Y., Mrs. P. Helfer of Auburn, N. Y., Richard A. Waite, Jr., secretary of the Syracuse Y. M. C. A., and Raymond I. Waite of New York City."
Source for names of children and birth dates:Family Bible of Richard Alfred Waite II, in his handwriting.
1880 Census, Buffalo, Erie County, NY, Ward 10, page 18, No. 163
Waite, Richard A.WM31ArchitectEngland England England
---------, SarahwifeWF31KeepingNew YorkNYEng
---------, Nelliedau.WF8At schoolNew YorkEng.NY
--------,Alfred A.sonWM6At school (bro. arm)NYEng.NY
---------, Raymond sonWM4NYEng.NY
--------,WilliambrothWM19ArtistEng. (sic) Eng.Eng.
1900 Census, Buffalo, Erie County, NY, 361 Pennsylvania Avenue
Waite, Richard A.WMMay 184852M28EnglandEnglandEngland
--------, SarahwifeW FNov. 184752M28New York New York New York
-------,Raymond I.W MOct. 187524M3New YorkEnglandNew York
-------,Ella M.W FMarch 1877 23 M3New YorkNew York New York
-------,Raymond I.W MJuly 18981SNew YorkNew YorkNew York
-------,Evadne H.WFOctober 1879 20 SNew YorkEnglandNew York
--------, Mary S.WFDec. 187029SNew YorkEnglandNew York
--------, WilliamW MSept. 186138 SNew YorkEnglandEngland
Sweeney, Mary G. W FFeb. 188218 SNew YorkIrelandNew York
At the time of his death, Richard A. Waite was living in a rooming house in New York City (run by a woman with a German-sounding name).His occupation as given on the 1910 NYC census was that of a map engraver.
More About Richard Alfred Waite:
Burial: Unknown, Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.
More About Richard Alfred Waite and Sarah Elvira Holloway:
Marriage: 22 Sep 1869, Buffalo, NY.477
Marriage Notes for Richard Alfred Waite and Sarah Elvira Holloway:
" On the 22nd, inst., at the residence of the bride's parents, by the Rev. D. H. Muller, Mr. Richard Waite and Miss Sarah E. Holloway, all of this city." (1)
Children of Richard Alfred Waite and Sarah Elvira Holloway are:
- Helen Holloway Waite, b. 16 Nov 1871, d. 06 Dec 1949, Buffalo, New York.
- Richard Alfred Waite II, b. 30 Jan 1874, Buffalo, Erie County, New York478, d. 11 Mar 1961, St. Louis, Missouri478.
- +Raymond Isaac Waite, b. 18 Oct 1875, d. date unknown.
- Evadne Holland Waite, b. 01 Oct 1879, d. 1958.
- Mary Sarah Waite, b. 26 Dec 1880, Buffalo, Erie County, New York, d. 03 Mar 1956, Hyattsville, Maryland.