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Male, US, born 1832-10-05, died 1922

Associated with the firms network

Preston and Locke, Architects; Preston and Seehorn, Architects; Preston, Jasper N. and Son, Architects; Preston, Jasper N., Architect


Professional History

Résumé

Principal, Jasper Preston, Carpenter, Oneida, MI, c. 1870.

Principal, Jasper Newton Preston, Austin, TX, c. 1875-1877; Partner, Preston and Ruffini, Austin, TX, 1877-1879; Principal, J. N. Preston and Son, Architects, Austin, TX, c. 1885. He formed at least two partnerships while in Austin, the first with the German-born architect Frederick Ernst Ruffini (1851-1885) between 1877-1879, and by 1883 he had opened a practice with his son, S.A.J. Preston. He is credited with a number of commercial buildings in Austin, most notably the Hotel Driskill (1886), built for a colorful local cattle rancher, Jesse Lincoln Driskill (1824–1890), but also Second Empire-styled Allen Hall at the Tillotson Institute, the Venetian Gothic-styled Walter Tips Building and the Hannig Building.

Like many of his contemporaries, Preston had an eclectic approach, creating versions of the popular styles of the late nineteenth century. When Texas’s State Capitol building burned in 1881, Preston was appointed to the jury to select a new design. His jury picked Elijah E. Myers’s design, a structure for which Preston supervised construction.

Principal, Jasper N. Preston and Son, Architects, Austin, TX, 1883-1886. According to the Texas State Historical Association, at some point during the 1883-1886 span, "...their firm was also listed in the San Antonio directories at that time." (See Texas State Historical Association, "Preston, Jasper N.," accessed 03/31/2017.)

Principal, J. N. Preston and Son, Architects, Los Angeles, CA, 06/1887-1889. As in Austin, Preston opened an office with his son, S.A.J. Preston (1858-1889) in 06/1887. A Los Angeles Herald article of 06/05/1887 introduced the firm to the city: "The gentlemen whose names head this article, have opened offices in the new Jones Block, near the Herald office and are now fitting up comfortable and convenient quarters.Los Angeles, with its rapid improvement and the erection of numerous platial [sic] residences, large store houses and costly public buildings, presents a splendid field for talented architects. Messrs. Preston & Son realize this fact, and a short time ago left Austin, Texas, where they stood at the head of the architectural profession and came to this city where the field is so much broader. Mr. J.N. Preston has been engaged in the practice of his profession for over thirty years, and was the supervising architect of the Capitol building at Austin, one of the most extensive and magnificent structures in the United States. This firm also erected the Deaf and Dumb Asylum at Terrel, [sic] Texas, the courthouses at Brenham and Belton and many other buildings which are a pride to the State. Messrs. Preston put in a finely executed plan for our new courthouse, which was very much admired. Los Angeles is always glad to welcom such substantial citizens and the Herald predicts a successful career for these talented and experienced architects in Southern California." (See "J.N. Preston & Son," Los Angeles Herald, vol. 27, no. 61, 06/05/1887, p. 5.) As the article indicated, the pair gained initial recognition in Los Angeles for their entry in the Los Angeles County Courthouse Competition of the mid-1880s. In 1888, the firm's office was at 41 South Spring Street.

Jasper Preston enjoyed some prestige when he arrived in California, as his involvement with the Texas State Capitol no doubt impressed Los Angelenos. Preston had also erected at least three county capitol buildings in Texas, including that of Cameron County (1882) and Bastrop County (1883). His colleagues voted him to the Presidency of the Southern California chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1892. He was active in the chapter, delivering a paper entitled, “Architecture, Its Study and Practice,” to the group in late 1894, and was elected to life membership in 1907. In Los Angeles, he obtained some important commissions, most notably the San Gabriel Hotel (c. 1889), the Los Angeles High School #2 (1890), and the addition to the Normal School at Los Angeles (1895). He also executed residential designs for wealthy clients in Pasadena and Huntington Beach.

After the death of his son, Jasper Preston entered into a series of short-lived partnerships. Partner, Preston and [Seymour] Locke, Architects, Los Angeles, CA, 1893-1894; Principal, Jasper N. Preston, Architect, Los Angeles, CA, 1895, 1897-1899, Partner, Preston and [Donald] MacKenzie, Architects, Los Angeles, CA, 1896; Partner, Preston and [Norman Foote] Marsh, Architects, Los Angeles, CA, 1900-1901. Partner, Preston and [Ira H.] Seehorn, Los Angeles, CA, 1902-1907.

Personal

Relocation

Jasper Newton Preston was born in Wayne County, NY, in 1832, but like many in Western NY during the heyday of the Erie Canal, his family migrated to the Midwest at some point before 1837. In 1850, he lived with his family on a farm near Oneida, MI, several miles west of Lansing. The 1850 US census indicated that the family farm was worth about $1600. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1850; Census Place: Oneida, Eaton, Michigan; Roll: M432_349; Page: 150B; Image: 562, accessed 03/30/2017.) Ten years later, its value had risen to about $6,000. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1860; Census Place: Oneida, Eaton, Michigan; Roll: M653_542; Page: 648; Family History Library Film: 803542, accessed 03/30/2017.)

A 1863 Civil War draft registration document indicated that the 31-year-old Jasper Preston lived in Delta, MI, was married, and worked as a carpenter. Delta was a small town about 7 miles west of Lansing. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation National Archives and Records Administration [NARA]; Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records [Provost Marshal General's Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865]; Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshal General's Bureau [Civil War]; Collection Name: Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865 (Civil War Union Draft Records); NAI: 4213514; Archive Volume Number: 2 of 3, accessed 03/30/2017.) He remained in Oneida in 1870, where he continued to work as a carpenter.

Preston spent his boyhood here, and, apparently, studied architecture in Lansing, which probably meant that he apprenticed with a local designer.

Preston left Lansing in c. 1875, relocating to TX where he spent most of the 1880s. He lived in Travis, TX, in 1880, with his wife and three of his children, Samuel, Sarah and Flora. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1880; Census Place: Travis, Texas; Roll: 1329; Family History Film: 1255329; Page: 22D; Enumeration District: 121, accessed 03/30/2017.) He was known to set up his practice in Austin, TX, soon thereafter.

The architect migrated to Los Angeles around 1886. In 1888, he lived at 200 South Main Street. (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, accessed 03/30/2017.) From at least 1890-1892, he resided at 926 South Olive Street, according to voter records. (See (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, accessed 03/30/2017 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 03/30/2017.)

He and Janet lived at 851 South Hill Street in Los Angeles in 1900. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1900; Census Place: Los Angeles Ward 4, Los Angeles, California; Roll: 89; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 0035; FHL microfilm: 1240089, accessed 03/30/2017.) Four years later, the Los Angeles City Directory, 1904, recorded his home address as being 408 East 16th Street in Los Angeles. (SeeLos Angeles, California, City Directory, 1904, p. 1046.)

In 1910, Federal Census records indicated that Preston was lived with his wife, Janet, at 1006 South Hope Street in Los Angeles, CA, and was 77 years of age. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 73, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T624_83; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0183; FHL microfilm: 1374096, accessed 03/30/2017.)

Ten years later, Preston was a registered as an "inmate" of the Masonic Home of California, in Washington Township, Alameda County, CA; he was thought to have been 80 (although he was closer to 87) and was widowed. He likely died between 1920 and 1930, as his name did not appear in the latter year's census. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: Washington, Alameda, California; Roll: T625_92; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 211; Image: 447, accessed 03/30/2017.)

Parents

His parents, Samuel and Rebecca Preston, operated a farm in Eaton, MI, c. 1850. Samuel Preston, Jr., was born 07/16/1800 in NY, died in 1885, and was a descendant of the CT Revolutionary War soldier, Jacob Preston (1733-1806). He married Rebecca Sprague (born 1807-1897) on 02/08/1825. In 1850, the family consisted of four children, Jasper, Samuel A.H. (born c. 1837 in MI), Samantha Preston Jones (born 1839 in MI), and Charles M. (born c. 1841 in MI). (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1850; Census Place: Oneida, Eaton, Michigan; Roll: M432_349; Page: 150B; Image: 562, accessed 03/30/2017.) The 1860 US Census erroneously indicated that Samantha had been born c. 1858 in MI. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1860; Census Place: Oneida, Eaton, Michigan; Roll: M653_542; Page: 648; Family History Library Film: 803542, accessed 03/30/2017.)

Spouse

He married Janet Preston (born c. 06/1834 in Canada).

Children

The 1910 US Census recorded that Jasper and Janet had had 7 children together, although only two were still alive in that year. The 1870 US Census noted some of his children; his eldest child was George Jones Preston (born c. 1847 in MI). The next children included Clark Gilbert (born c. 1850 in MI), and Ruth (born c. 1854 in MI), Samuel A.J. (born c. 1858 in MI), Sarah (born c. 1859 in MI), Flora Preston Hotchkiss (born c. 1863 in MI-died 12/23/1946), and Georgiana (born c. 1868 in MI.) (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1870; Census Place: Oneida, Eaton, Michigan; Roll: M593_670; Page: 264B; Image: 417891; Family History Library Film: 552169, accessed 03/30/2017.)

Biographical Notes

Voter registration document of 1892 listed Preston as standing 5-feet, 8-inches tall, with a fair complexion, dark hair and brown eyes.


PCAD id: 1409