view all images ( of 30 shown)

Male, US, born 1850-10-20, died 1922-03-29

Associated with the firms network

Kysor and Morgan, Architects; Kysor, Morgan and Walls, Architects; Morgan and Eisen, Architects; Morgan and Walls, Architects; Morgan, Walls and Morgan, Associated Architects and Engineers; Morgan, Walls, Morgan and Clements, Architects


Professional History

Résumé

Draftsman, F.A. Gilhams, Architect and Building Contractor, Canterbury, England, 1866-1871; Out West Magazine featured biographies of Makers of Los Angeles in its 04/1909 issue, one of which was done on Octavius Morgan. It stated: '"Mr. Morgan while studying at the Sydney Cooper Art School started on his professional career, his first experience being gained in the office of F.A. Gilhams, architect and contractor of repute in Canterbury, Kent, England, and with this firm he remained five years, when he left his position and home to seek his fortune in a new country." (See Out West, "Makers of Los Angeles: Morgan Octavius," vol. XXX, no. 4, 04/1909, p. 385.)

Draftsman, Ezra Kysor, Architect, Los Angeles, CA, 1875-1876; Partner, [Ezra] Kysor and Morgan, Architects, Los Angeles, CA, 1876-1886; Partner, Kysor, Morgan and [John A.] Walls, Architects, Los Angeles, CA, 1887-1890; the Out West article stated of this period: "In the following year he entered the employ of E.F. Kysor, a pioneer architect of this city, and became a partner in the firm the following year, 1876. Since that period, he has followed his profession without intermission, excepting when he left the city to visit the East in the dull times of 1878-80, and again when he made a tour of Europe during 1889-1890." (See Out West, "Makers of Los Angeles: Morgan, Octavius," vol. XXX, no. 4, 04/1909, p. 385.) According to this chronicle, Kysor retired from the firm in 1888, leaving the practice to Morgan and Walls to continue.

Partner, Morgan and Walls, Architects, Los Angeles, CA, 1890-1910. In 1909, Out West indicated that Morgan and Walls had done a staggering amount of work in Los Angeles: "Mr. Morgan has a proud record, for up to a few years ago, he did 33 per cent of the architectural work of the city, and even today, when the building record has increased from $600,000, which it was when he started in business, to the tremendous figure of $12,000,000 per annum, he still continues to do ten per cent of the work." (See Out West, "Makers of Los Angeles: Morgan, Octavius," vol. XXX, no. 4, 04/1909, p. 385.)

In 1896, Octavius Morgan was also the Vice-President of the Temple Street Cable Railway Company in Los Angeles in addition to being a partner in the architectural firm of Morgan and Walls. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1896, p. 1670.)

Partner, Morgan, Walls and Morgan, Architects, Los Angeles, CA, 04/1910-c. 1920;

Professional Activities

In the wake of the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906, Morgan made an inspection tour of the city in mid-04/1906, and a portion of his report was published in the Los Angeles Herald. It stated: "Architect Octavius Morgan, who made an extensive tour of the burned section is quoted as saying: 'The whole of the brick buildings in San Francisco are destroyed and the fireproof buildings greatly damaged. the fire and earthquake demonstrated the value of full skeleton steel construction. All buildings of this class remaining intact; the principal damage being done to the facings, plastering and surface ornamentation. Concrete as a fireproofing materials has stood the test, the showing was even better than that of hollow tile. In all cases where concrete floors and arches were used they appeared to be in perfect condition. All granite and other stone facing of walls were greatly damaged by the fire and in many cases the terro [sic] cotta had fallen off. The city hall was the greatest sufferer by the earthQUake, the brick walls having been shaken down, as were also the cast iron columns.'"

He continued: "'The effect of the earthquake was more apparent on the made ground than on that of solid foundation. Where buildings were erected on solid rock foundation they are in a better condition than those on the sandy or made ground. This was especially true of the buildings erected around the base of Telegraph hill, the brick buildings showing but little damage. All of these were later destroyed by fire.'" (See "Report of an Architect," Los Angeles Herald, 04/27/1906, part II, p. 5.)

President, Engineers and Architects Association, Los Angeles, CA.

Member/Past President, California State Board of Architecture.

Member/President American Institute of Architects, Southern California Chapter.

Member, AIA, Board of Directors, 1915-1918. Seattle architect W.R.B. Willcox was also made a member of the Board of Directors for this three-year term. (See "With the Architects and Engineers," Architect and Engineer of California, vol. XLI, no. 1, 04/1915, p. 106.)

Professional Awards

The Calfiornia Architects Board named its major professional service award, the "Octavius Morgan Distinguished Service Award," for Octavius Morgan, Sr., the first president of the California Architects Board.

Education

High School/College

He was educated at Kent House Academy, Canterbury, England, the Thomas Cross Classic School, Canterbury, England, and Sydney Cooper Art School, Canterbury, England.

Personal

Relocation

Born in the Blean district of Canterbury, Kent, England in 1850, Octavius Weller Morgan, Sr., immigrated to the US in 1871. The English Census of 1871 indicated that he lived with his family on Castle Street in Canterbury, where he worked as a cabinetmaker. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation, Class: RG10; Piece: 969; Folio: 101; Page: 16; GSU roll: 827251, accessed 12/15/2016.) A brief biography of Morgan published in Out West in 1909, summarized his circuitous route from England to Los Angeles: "In 1871 he arrived in this country, coming via Canada, thence to Denver, Colorado....Leaving Denver, the mining fever struck him, and from that city he wandered through the mining camps of Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah and Nevada in search of the precious metal, and finally reached California in 1874, coming to San Bernardino, by the way of Pioche [Nevada}, with pack animals. Here he worked for several months a placer claim in Lytle Creek Cañón, but finally gave it up and came to Los Angeles, where he arrived on June 16, 1874, having been three years on the journey from England." (See Out West, "Makers of Los Angeles: Morgan Octavius," vol. XXX, no. 4, 04/1909, p. 385.)

It isn't hard to see why Morgan left Pioche, as it had a reputation for being lawless. The web site Ghosttowns.com reported about the city: "In 1873, the Nevada State Mineralogist reported to the State Legislature 'About one-half of the community are thieves, scoundrels and murderers and then we have some of the best folks in the world, and I don't know but our lives and property are just as safe as with you. You can go uptown and get shot very easily if you choose, or you can live peacefully. I will send you a paper with an account of the last fight...I was in hopes eight or ten would have been killed at least, as these fights are a pest in the community. Peaceful! Sure, if you stayed out of the way of the bullets.'" (See Ghosttowns.com, "Pioche," accessed 12/15/2016.)

According to Los Angeles voting records from 1884, Morgan was naturalized in 11/1878 in Leadville, CO. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 - 2A; CSL Roll Number: 19; FHL Roll Number: 976928, accessed 12/15/2016.) The 1920 US Census stated that he entered the US in 1870, and was naturalized in 11/1875. Voting records of 1896 indicated that Los Angeles County officials had certified that Morgan had been naturalized. This document also recorded his home address as being 1405 Brooklyn Avenue. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation, California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 - 2A; CSL Roll Number: 22; FHL Roll Number: 976931, accessed 12/15/2016.)

He lived at 402 Temple Street in Los Angeles in 1890 and 1892. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation, California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 - 2A; CSL Roll Number: 20; FHL Roll Number: 977994, and Ancestry.com, Source Citation California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 - 2A; CSL Roll Number: 20; FHL Roll Number: 976929, accessed 12/15/2016.)

In 1896, Morgan resided at 1405 Brooklyn Avenue in Los Angeles. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1896, p. 985.)

Between at least 1900 until his death in 1922, he resided at 819 South Westlake Avenue. (See "Octavius Morgan," Who's Who on the Pacific Coast, 1913, [Los Angeles: Harper Publishing Company, 1913,] p. 411.) By 1920, his wife had passed away, and he lived in the house at 819 South Westlake with his daughter Jessie, his son-in-law Walter S. McGilvray, Sr., (born c. 1889 in CO), his grandson, Walter S. McGilvray, Jr., (born c. 07/1917 in CA), and a servant, Johanna Kane (born c. 1875 in Ireland). (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation, Year: 1920; Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 75, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T625_116; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 467; Image: 168, accessed 12/15/2016.) His son, Octavius Weller Morgan, Sr., lived nearby at 824 South Westake Avenue in 1921. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1921, p. 1853.)

Parents

His parents were both English. His father was Giles Chapman Morgan (born c. 1796-d. 01/13/1862), and his mother, Caroline Tyler Adams (born c. 1817). The 1841 Census of England listed Giles Morgan to have been a farmer. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Class: HO107; Piece: 475; Book: 8; Civil Parish: Preston Next Faversham; County: Kent; Enumeration District: 8a; Folio: 10; Page: 13; Line: 22; GSU roll: 306870; accessed 12/15/2016.) The 1851 Census of England indicated his occupation was that of "landed proprietor," and that he employed four men on his farm. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation, Class: HO107; Piece: 1623; Folio: 209; Page: 20; GSU roll: 193524,accessed 12/1652016.)

By 1861, Giles and Caroline had seven children, 4 daughters and 3 sons: Caroline (born c. 1841), Matilda (born c. 1842), Charles (born c. 1848), Elizabeth D. (born c. 1852), Charlotte (born c. 1854), and Walter (born c. 1857).

Spouse

He married Margaret Susan Weller Offenbacker (born c. 07/1845 in OH) on 10/16/1884 in Los Angeles, CA.

Children

He and Margaret had two children: a son, Octavius Weller Morgan, Jr. (1886-1951), who became a prominent and influential architect in Los Angeles, and a daughter, Jessie Caroline Morgan McGilvray (1887-1963).

Biographical Notes

At age 41 in 1892, Morgan stood 5-feet, 5-inches tall, had brown hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion, according to voters records of that year. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 - 2A; CSL Roll Number: 20; FHL Roll Number: 976929, accessed 12/15/2016.)

Morgan traveled in England in early 1891 studying sewage treatment facilities in the cities of Canterbury, Birmingham and Croydon. He wrote his impressions of these facilities in the Los Angeles Times in his article "Sewage Disposal," 03/11/1891, p. 4.

He traveled aboard the Norddeutscher Lloyd ocean liner, S.S. Prinzess Irene, from Gibraltar to New York, NY, between 04/20/1914 and 04/29/1914. (This ship was impounded by the US during World War I and sold back to the Norddeutscher Lloyd line by the United States Mail Steamship Company in 1922.)

He was a member of the Freemasons and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) fraternal organizations. He also belonged to the elite Jonathan Club and the California Club.



Associated Locations

PCAD id: 114


NameDateCityState
American Telephone and Telegraph Company (A, T and T), Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, Office Building, Los Angeles, CA1911Los AngelesCA
Artisan's Patio Building, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CALos AngelesCA
Bank of Italy, Headquarters Building #1, Los Angeles, CA1920-1922Los AngelesCA
Bonfilio, N., House, Los Angeles, CA1898-1899Los AngelesCA
Brown, W.C., House, Los Angeles, CALos AngelesCA
Capitol Milling Company, Los Angeles, CA1883Los AngelesCA
Cardona Building, Downtown, Los Angeles, CALos AngelesCA
Chapman Park Apartments, 615 South Alexandria Avenue, Los Angeles, CALos AngelesCA
Childs Opera House, Downtown Los Angeles, CA 1883-1884Los AngelesCA
Davies, J.M., Warehouse, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, CA1903Los AngelesCA
DeHaven, Carter, Music Box Theatre, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA1926Los AngelesCA
Duque, T.L., Garage, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 1910Los AngelesCA
Farmers and Merchants National Bank of Los Angeles, Headquarters Building #3, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1905Los AngelesCA
Fort Street Methodist Episcopal Church, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 1870Los AngelesCA
Haas, Abraham, Building, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1914Los AngelesCA
Hellman Building, 411 South Main Street, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1910Los AngelesCA
Hellman, Isaias W., Office Building, Los Angeles, CA1912-1915Los AngelesCA
Hollenbeck Home for the Aged, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, CA 1896Los AngelesCA
Hotel Savoy, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 1918-1919Los AngelesCA
Hotel Van Nuys, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1896-1897Los AngelesCA
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), Hall, Azusa, CA1908AzusaCA
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), Hall, Lincoln Heights, East Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA1911-1912Los AngelesCA
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), Hall Project, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1913Los AngelesCA
Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), Odd Fellows Cemetery Association, Store Building, East Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA1920-1921Los AngelesCA
Kerckhoff Building, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1907-1908Los AngelesCA
Lawton, A.G., House, South Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA1901-1902Los AngelesCA
Lord Motor Car Company, Showroom, Los Angeles, CA1922-1923Los AngelesCA
Los Angeles Investment Company, Office Building, and Morosco Theatre, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1913Los AngelesCA
McDonald Building, Los Angeles, CALos AngelesCA
Mullen and Bluett Department Store, Miracle Mile, Los Angeles, CA1947-1949Los AngelesCA
Nadeau House, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 1881-1882Los AngelesCA
Pantages Office Building #1, Pantages Theatre #1, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1909-1910Los AngelesCA
Pico House Hotel, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1869-1870Los AngelesCA
Schiefflein, Mrs. Jane, House, Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles, CALos AngelesCA
Story Building #1, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1900Los AngelesCA
Story Building #2, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1908-1909Los AngelesCA
Van Nuys, Isaac Newton, Building, Annex, Los Angeles, CA1929-1930Los AngelesCA
Van Nuys, Isaac Newton, Building, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1910-1911Los AngelesCA
"Octavius A. Morgan, Sr. obituary", American Institute of Architects Journal, 10: 169, 1922. Naylor, David, American Picture Palaces The Architecture of Fantasy, 203, 217, 1981. Morgan, Octavius W., Sr., "The Fair--Octavius Morgan's Impressions of It", Architect and Engineer of California, XLI: 3, 85-86, 1915-06. "Ten-Story Office Building", Architect and Engineer of California, XII: 2, 77, 1908-03. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles, 283, 2003. Withey, Henry F., Withey, Elsie Rathburn, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased), 356-357, 1970. "Plans for the 3-story lodge building of the Lincoln Heights Odd Fellows Lodge", Builder and Contractor, 17, 06/15/1911. "Capitol Milling Company, Los Angeles, CA, additions 1898", Builder and Contractor, 2, col 1, 01/12/1898. "Lincoln Heights Odd Fellows Lodge", Builder and Contractor, 7, col 3, 06/01/1911. "Bonfilio House plans", Builder and Contractor, 1, col 3, 06/01/1898. "Morgan and Walls becomes Morgan, Walls and Morgan, 1910", Builder and Contractor, 5, 1910-04-07. "Recent and projected work of the two Los Angeles architectural firms of Kysor and Morgan and Boring and Haas", California Architect and Building News, 128, 1885-08. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Guide to Architecture in Southern California, 77, 1965. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Guide to Architecture in Southern California, 74, 1965. Morosco, Oliver, Morosco, Helen McRuer , Life of Oliver Morosco the Oracle of Broadway, 193, 353-354, 1944. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 235, 1994. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 231, 1994. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 251, 1994. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, "Van Nuys Hotel (now Barclay Hotel), 1896", Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 238, 1994. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 259, 1994. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, "I.N. Van Nuys Building, 1910-11", Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 238, 1994. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 235, 1994. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, "Globe Theater, 1921", Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 236, 1994. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 160, 1994. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, "Kerkhoff [sic] Building (now Santa Fe Building), 1907 and 1911", Los Angeles, An Architectural Guide, 238, 1994. Los Angeles Conservancy News, 5, 05-06/1984. "Story to finance building, 1900", Los Angeles Daily Journal, 4, 10/13/1900. "Odd Fellows Hall, Azusa, Notice", Los Angeles Daily Journal, 2, col. 1, 02/26/1908. Edmonds, Andy, "Showstopper", Los Angeles Magazine, 128-136, 11/1989. "Schiefflein House, East Los Angeles, Los Angeles", Los Angeles Times, np, 01/01/1885. "Kysor and Morgan advertisement", Los Angeles Times, O 1, 7/23/1882. "Kysor, Morgan and Walls Advertisement", Los Angeles Times, 6, 03/09/1889. "New playhouse to rise shortly", Los Angeles Times, 1, 01/12/1909. Morgan, Octavius Weller, Sr., "Sewage Disposal", Los Angeles Times, 4, 03/11/1891. "Fellowship of State Voiced", Los Angeles Times, 3, 04/13/1910. "The Reaction", Los Angeles Times, 2, 02/18/1882. "Master Builders of America Arrive Here", Los Angeles Times, 1, 10/14/1915. "Capitalist will build theater", Los Angeles Times, 1, 10/24/1909. "Building Reviewed", Los Angeles Times, 13, 12/16/1923. "Object Lesson in Holocaust", Los Angeles Times, Section 2: 2, 4/26/1906. "The Architects' Organization", Los Angeles Times, 7, 9/21/1895. Landsberg, Mitchell, "19th century mill gets new lease on life for the 21st", Los Angeles Times, B1, B8, 2/29/2000. "Kysor, Morgan and Walls Advertisement", Los Angeles Times, 6, 03/09/1889. "Architects Eat", Los Angeles Times, 9, 5/23/1895. "Fort Street Methodist Church closed for remodeling", Los Angeles Tribune, 3, col 1, 03/07/1887. LeBerthon, J.L., Our Architecture : Morgan & Walls, John Parkinson, Hunt & Eager, 1904. "Pantages vs Grauman", Rounder, 5, 10/07/1911. "Savoy Hotel Award", Southwest Builder and Contractor, 11, col 2, 04/16/1920. "Independent Order of Odd Fellows Project Flower Street and 12th Street, Los Angeles", Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer, 12, col 1-2, 1913-02-15.