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Male, US, born 1920-10-29, died 1981-06-18

Associated with the firms network

McAdoo, Benjamin F., Jr., Architect; McAdoo, Malcolm and Youel, Architects


Professional History

Résumé

Draftsman, South East Housing Architects, Los Angeles, CA, 1942. This firm had an office at 5222 Long Beach Avenue in 1942. As listed on his World War II draft registration card, his "name and address of person who will always know your address” was Robert Kennard, (1920-1995), a contemporary African-American architect probably also working for South East Housing Architects in Los Angeles. See Ancestry.com, Source Citation: The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for California, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1155, accessed 08/28/2020.)

Principal, Benjamin F. McAdoo, Jr., Architect, Seattle, WA, 1947-1961, 1964-1981. From at least 1953 until 1960, McAdoo had an office at 1718 Olive Way in Seattle. (See Seattle City Directory, 1960, p. 1075.)

McAdoo's firm continued after his death as McAdoo, Malcolm and Youel, Architects, Seattle, WA. By 1960, McAdoo had developed a strong interest in public housing. He worked as an administrator for the United States Agency on International Development (AID) on the island of Jamaica in 1961-1962. According to Michael Hauser in his brief biography of McAdoo on the DOCOMOMO WEWA, "While there [Jamaica], McAdoo promoted a modular house design which could be easily assembled by unskilled workers. The successful design was widely manufactured within the country." (See Michael Hauser, "McAdoo, Benjamin F. Jr. (1920 - 1981),"Accessed 06/10/2013.) McAdoo resettled in Washington, DC, after 1962 and assisted in the administration of the Latin American Division of the AID; he moved to the General Services Administration (GSA), the entity responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of US Federal buildings. McAdoo came back to live in Seattle by 1964, working for the City of Auburn's Public Building Services Department. He also took on private practice clients. By 1970, he began to pursue organizational and governmental work, doing projects for the City of Seattle, the University of Washington (UW), and King County.

Professional Awards

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Seattle Chapter, presented the George Hage House, Seattle, WA, with its Seattle Times/AIA Home of the Year Award in 1956.

Archives

The University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division, maintains the "Benjamin McAdoo Papers, 1941-1981." The collection contains 9.14 linear feet of "Correspondence, financial records, reports, notes, project files, clippings, architectual drawings and plans, posters, and news releases relative to his activities as president of the Seattle branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and career as an architect."

Education

College

Coursework, Pasadena City College, Pasadena, CA.

Coursework, University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, CA, 1942-1943.

B.Arch., University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 1944-1946; a junior project by Ben McAdoo entitled "An Automobile Salesroom and Shop for Maintenance and Repair," appeared in the 1943-1946 Year Book of the School of Architecture at the University of Washington, np, 1946.

Personal

Relocation

Born in Pasadena, CA, McAdoo spent his childhood in that city. In 1930, ten-year-old Benjamin, Jr., lived with his parents and two siblings in a residence they owned at 694 South Fair Oaks Avenue, an ethnically-mixed neighborhood composed of many people of Chinese-American and Mexican-American descent. These families likely would have been excluded from most other neighborhoods in Pasadena due to racially-restrictive covenants. The house had an approximate value of $10,000, in line with others in the neighborhood. Many neighbors were renters, their houses possibly owned by white landlords who left the area when it became racially mixed. Carrie Woods McAdoo, (born 03/10/1865 in TX-d. 02/14/1951 in Los Angeles County, CA), Benjamin. Jr.'s paternal grandmother, lived nearby at 674 South Fair Oaks. Carrie, according to the 1910 US Census, and was a merchant operating a retail grocery, located at 679 South Fair Oaks Avenue. Two of her children, Benjamin, Sr., and Ollie McAdoo Carnahan, (born c. 07/1885 in AR-d. 05/29/1910 in Los Angeles County, CA), assisted her in running the store at that time. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Pasadena Ward 4, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T624_86; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0296; FHL microfilm: 1374099, accessed 08/28/2020.)

Twenty years later, Carrie shared her house with three renters, a widow, H. Elnora Harris, (born c. 1871 in MO), and her son, Lonnie Harris, (born c, 1891 in MO), daughter, Hazel Walker, (born c. 1906 in MO), and Hazel’s husband, Walter Walker, (born c. 1905 in Honduras). (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Pasadena, Los Angeles, California; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 1248; FHL microfilm: 2339904, accessed 08/28/2020.)

By 1940, the McAdoo Family, by this time numbering six people with the addition of Theodoria, born c. 1933, lived with Benjamin, Jr.'s grandmother at 674 South Fair Oaks. Benjamin, Sr. They paid Carrie McAdoo $30 per month to reside here. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation: Year: 1940; Census Place: Pasadena, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00242; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 19-496, accessed 08/28/2020.)

As noted on his World War II draft registration card, McAdoo remained living at 674 South Fair Oaks on 02/16/1942. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation: The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for California, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1155, accessed 08/28/2020.)

He took college coursework at Pasadena City College and the University of Southern Calfiornia (USC). By 1944, he had moved north to Seattle and took architectural classes at the University of Washington, from which he graduated in 1946.

In 1953, McAdoo and his wife resided at 2053 24th Avenue North. (See Seattle City Directory, 1953, p. 889.) Three years later, they dwelled at 202 Boylston Avenue North (later Boylston Avenue East) in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. (See Seattle City Directory, 1956, p. 946.)

In 1960, Benjamin McAdoo resided at 17823 88th Avenue NE in Bothell, WA. He remained in this house which he designed until 1981, when he moved to Capitol Hill. He died that year.

Parents

His father, Benjamin F. McAdoo, Sr., (born 01/06/1888 in Hot Springs, AR-d. 03/09/1984 in Los Angeles County, CA), and mother, Alferetta Derousell McAdoo, (born 11/26/1898 in LA-d. 01/16/1979 in Pasadena, CA), made their home in Pasadena, CA. The web resource Find a Grave.com and the U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, listed Alferetta's last name as spelled "Derousell." The Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1918, (p. 655), spelled the surname "Deroussell," and recorded that she worked as a music teacher, living at 217 East Avenue 38.

His father worked at various jobs. His World War I draft registration card stated that he was an auto mechanic in 06/1917. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation: Registration State: California; Registration County: Los Angeles; Roll: 1531272; Draft Board: 1, accessed 08/28/2020.) The 1930 US Census listed both of his parents working together as hardwood floor contractors. Ten years later, the census indicated that Benjamin, Sr.'s occupation was that of physician. His World War II draft registration card, made when he was 54, did not list an employer.

Benjamin, Jr., was the eldest of four children. His siblings included Alfred McAdoo, (born c. 1924 in CA), Amelia McAdoo, (born c. 1929 in CA), and Theodoria, (born c. 1933 in CA).

Alferetta's name is spelled variously in government documents, as “Alfravetta” (1920 US Census), “Alforetta” (1930 US Census), Alfretta (1940 US Census). The most common spelling in city directories and voter records was "Alferetta," and this was the spelling on her gravestone.

Spouse

He wed Alice Thelma Dent, (1916-2013), on 07/23/1942 in CA. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation: California Department of Public Health, courtesy of www.vitalsearch-worldwide.com, accessed 08/28/2020.)

Born in GA, she grew up in Redlands, CA, in a single-parent household.

Children

Benjamin McAdoo, Jr., and Alice Thelma Dent had three children: Marcia M. Greenlee, Benjamin F. McAdoo III, and Enid E. McAdoo.

ChildrenIn 1964 and, as president of the Seattle chapter of the NAACP, began broadcasting a weekly radio show focused on social issues. He maintained this post for four years. - See more at: http://www.blackpast.org/aaw/mcadoo-benjamin-1920-1981#sthash.mvTo9Xl2.dpuf
In 1964 and, as president of the Seattle chapter of the NAACP, began broadcasting a weekly radio show focused on social issues. He maintained this post for four years. - See more at: http://www.blackpast.org/aaw/mcadoo-benjamin-1920-1981#sthash.mvTo9Xl2.dpuf

Biographical Notes

McAdoo was a pioneering African-American architect. According to the BlackPast.org Blog, "He established the first African American-owned architecture firm in Seattle and was the first black man to practice architecture in Washington State." (See BlackPast.org Blog, "McAdoo, Benjamin (1920-1981)," accessed 10/28/2015.)

In 1942, his World War II draft registration card listed McAdoo as standing 6-feet, 1-inch tall and weighing 205 pounds. He had brown eyes and black hair with what was described as a “dark” African-American complexion. McAdoo registered for the draft on 02/16/1942, one day after his friend, fellow architect Robert A. Kennard. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation: The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for California, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1155, accessed 08/28/2020.)

Member, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Seattle, WA.

President, NAACP, Seattle Chapter, 1964-1968. The BlackPast.org Blog stated on his community service: "In 1964 and, as president of the Seattle chapter of the NAACP, began broadcasting a weekly radio show focused on social issues. He maintained this post for four years."

During the 1960s, McAdoo worked on the Caribbean island of Jamaica, designing low-cost housing. This effort was carried out under the auspices of the United States Agency for International Development. McAdoo flew from Kingston, Jamaica, to New York, NY, aboard British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) #474 on 04/15/1962. McAdoo had an address in Kingston at the US Consulate General office. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation: The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; NAI Number: 2848504; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 - 2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: A3998; NARA Roll Number: 665, accessed 08/28/2020.)

On 09/02/1962, he traveled from Kingston to Miami on Pan Am Flight #432 en route to Guatemala. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation: The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger and Crew Manifests of Airplanes Arriving at Miami, Florida.; NAI Number: 2788541; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 - 2004; Record Group Number: 85, accessed 08/28/2020.)

SSN: 547-24-8725.



Associated Locations

  • Seattle, WA (Architect's Death)
    Seattle, WA

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  • Pasadena, CA (Architect's Birth)
    Pasadena, CA

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PCAD id: 2167