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Male, US, born 1873-09-12, died 1938-01-07

Associated with the firms network

Reamer, Robert C., Architect; Zimmer and Reamer, Architects


Professional History

Résumé

At 12, he began work in Detroit, MI, for the architectural firm of Mortimer L. Smith and Sons, Architects. This firm occupied Room #17-18 in the Walker Building in Detroit in 1885. (See Detroit, Michigan, City Directory, 1885, p. 1228.)

He moved to Chicago, IL, by the early 1890s, where he worked for the A.H. Andrews and Company furniture manufacturing concern. At this time, Andrews and Company was a large-scale manufacturer of furniture with four factories and 500 workers.

It is possible that Reamer lived in Chattanooga, TN, with or near his parents in the early 1890s. According to the Chattanooga City Directory, 1892, (p. 50), eight architects operated in the city at the time, including, Blatherwick and Penn, J.C. Breeding, Adrian DeLisle, J.H. Hopkins, Hunt and Lamm, J.A. Mickey, S.M. Patton, and T.C. Veale. Reamer might have worked for one of them.

Partner, Zimmer and Reamer, Architects, San Diego, CA, 1897- . Reamer resettled in San Diego in 1896. He formed a partnership with Samuel Zimmer in San Diego, CA; in San Diego by 1896 or 1897, opening an office in the Lawyers Block by the latter year. (See San Diego, California, City Directory, 1897, p. 211.) Zimmer and Reamer were one of eight architectural fitms listed in the city directory of 1897. Others incliuded Robert C. Ball, L.A. Curtis, G.C. Keyes, Hebbard and Gill, A.T. Large, C.A. Logan, and Reif and Stannard.

Principal, Robert C. Reamer, Architect, San Diego, CA, 1899.

Reamer made the acquaintance of Harry W. Child (1857–1931), who co-founded the Yellowstone Park Transportation Company (later known as the "Yellowstone Park Company,"), and the architect went on to design approximately 25 buildings in the park between 1902-1926. The US Census of 1910 noted that Reamer lodged at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel at the time, and worked as an architect for the hotel company. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: Yellowstone National Park, Uinta, Wyoming; Roll: T624_1747; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0001; FHL microfilm: 1375760, accessed 05/03/2018.)

Architect, Daniel A. Reamer, Architect, Birmingham, AL, 1905. Daniel Reamer had an office in Room #910 of the Title Guarantee Building in Birmingham in 1905. (See R.L. Polk and Company's Birmingham, Alabama, City Directory, 1905, p. 849.)

Architect, Yellowstone Hotel Company, Mammoth Hot Springs, WY, c. 1910. Reamer worked periodically in Montana between 1903-1915.

He moved to Cleveland, OH, to work with his brother, Daniel, in an short-lived architecture firm.

Naval Architect, Bremerton Shipyard, Bremerton, WA, c. 1916. Reamer arrived in Seattle, WA, in 1916. His obituary in the Seattle Times noted that he had worked for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad "prior to coming to Seattle." (See "Robert Reamer, Architect, Dies," Seattle Times, 01/07/1938, p. 7.)

Storeroom Employee, J.F. Duthie and Company, Seattle, WA, c. 1918. In 09/1918, he worked as a storeroom employee of J.F. Duthie in Seattle, WA, according to his World War I draft registration card. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Registration State: Washington; Registration County: King; Roll: 1991895; Draft Board: 06, accessed 05/03/2018.)

Architect, Metropolitan Building Company, Seattle, WA, 1919-1931; Reamer seems to have worked for the Metropolitan Building Company and in his own practice between 1927 and 1931. The Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1931, indicated that Reamer worked for the Metropolitan Building Company. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1931, p. 1391.)

Principal, Robert C. Reamer, Architect, Seattle, WA, 1927-1938. Between 1927 and 1935, at least, Reamer had an office in Room #232 of the Stimson Building in Seattle. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1927, p. 1727 and Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1935, p. 1653.)

Professional Awards

Reamer was placed on the Roll of Honor, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Washington, 10/18/2005.

Education

High School

It is possible that Reamer had no formal education past age 12. Biographer Ruth Quinn has noted, however, that Reamer himself noted that he attended "2 years Ft. Payne, Ala. academy." (See Ruth Quinn,Weaver of Dreams: The Life and Architecture of Robert C. Reamer, [Gardiner, MT: Leslie and Ruth Quinn, 2004], p. 19.) A Congregational school at Fort Payne, AL, was in operation from at least 1885 until 1892, under the supervision ofRev. Edward A. Barry, the pastor of the Fort Payne Congregational Church. (See Minutes of the Congregational Association of Ohio at Its Thirty-Ninth Annual Meeting Held in Springfield, Ohio, May 12 to 14, 1891, with Minutes of the Ohio Home Missionary Society Reports and Statistics, [Cleveland,OH: Cleveland Printing and Publishing Company, 1891], p. 16 and The Home Missionary for the Year Ending April 1892, vol. LXIV, July 1892, p. 134, published by the American Home Missionary Society, of New York.)

Personal

Relocation

Born in Oberlin, OH, just outside of Cleveland, Robert Chambers Reamer traveled a great deal during his life, working primarily, but not exclusively, in the West during adulthood. He changed jobs very frequently, suggesting, perhaps, someone who was restless and not easily satisfied. The Reamer Family resided at 16 Elm Street in Oberlin during Robert's earliest years and, by the mid-1880s, inhabited a residence on West Street. (See Ruth Quinn,Weaver of Dreams: The Life and Architecture of Robert C. Reamer, [Gardiner, MT: Leslie and Ruth Quinn, 2004], p. 17-18.)

​Reamer separated from his parents in about 1885, when he moved to Detroit, MI. Here, he lived in a boarding house and apprenticed with the architectural firm of Mortimer L. Smith and Sons. It is unclear how long he remained in Detroit, and his whereabouts between years between 1885 and 1890 remain murky. According to his biographer, Ruth Quinn, it is possible that he moved back to live with his parents in the cities of Birmingham, AL, where they resided from 1886-1889, Fort Payne, AL, from 1889-03/1891, and/or in Chattanooga, TN, after 03/1891. (See Ruth Quinn, Weaver of Dreams: The Life and Architecture of Robert C. Reamer, [Gardiner, MT: Leslie and Ruth Quinn, 2004], p. 19.) In 1892, his parents resided on Chamberlain Avenue (near Ruohs' Crossing) in the High Point neighborhood of Chattanooga, TN, in 1892, where his brother, David, apparently lived with the family. Robert was not listed in the Chattanooga City Directory, 1892, listing on p. 588.

In 1896-1897, Reamer lived on the northwest corner of D and 9th Streets. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 - 2A; CSL Roll Number: 40; FHL Roll Number: 977095, accessed 06/28/2019 and San Diego, California, City Directory, 1897, p. 211.) The architect had moved to 832 5th Street in San Diego, CA, in 1899, probably just before his first marriage. (See San Diego, California, City Directory, 1899, p. 228.) He and his new bride, Mabel, lived in an apartment building at 1920 B Street in San Diego, CA, according to the US Census of 1900. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1900; Census Place: San Diego Ward 4, San Diego, California; Page: 11; Enumeration District: 0194, accessed 05/03/2018.)

Robert and Mabel resided in Birmingham, AL, in 1905, where Robert worked for his brother Daniel's architectural firm. (See R.L. Polk and Company's Birmingham, Alabama, City Directory, 1905, p. 849.)

Reamer worked as an architect for the Yellowstone Hotel Company in 1910, living in the Mammoth Springs vicinity. Reamer's primary reason for living at the Fort Yellowstone/Yellowstone National Park in 1910, was to design and supervise construction of the Canyon Hotel #3 for Harry W. Child's (1857–1931) Yellowstone Park Company. In preparation for the hotel's design, Reamer and Child toured resort hotels in Europe during 1909, seeking models for this huge and luxurious new facility. Construction of the Canyon Hotel #3 occurred between 06/1910 and 06/1911. It remained in service through the 1950s and was razed in 1960. Reaner was assisted on the Canyon Hotel #3 by Charles Adrian Popkin (1881-1960), an architect who spent the 1910s until just before World War II practicing in OK.

Caraloging all of Reamer's work at Yellowstone is a daunting task. The US Army maintained Fort Yellowstone between 1886 and 1918, and Reamer lived here while the Double Cavalry Barracks and Bachelors' Officers Quarters were being built in 1909. A residential area in the Mammoth Hot Springs area has been attributed to Reamer. The National Park Service also indicated that Reamer may have had a hand in the design of the Roosevelt Arch at Yellowstone, built in 1903. It stated: "The Roosevelt Arch is in the North Entrance Road Historic District and is part of the Fort Yellowstone Historic Landmark District. The structure was conceived by US Engineer Hiram Chittenden; Robert Reamer may have contributed to the design, and architect N.J. Ness also worked on it." (See National Park Service.gov, "Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District," accessed 06/28/2019.) Chittenden became very well known for his work on the Hiram Chittenden Locks in Seattle, completed by 1917.

The architect lived in the vicinty of Newton, MA, c. 1912-1913, where his daughter, Jane, was born. They may have resided at 480 Walnut Street in Newton. (See Ancestry.com, Source Information: Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011, accessed 05/03/2018.) At the time, he was working on the Union Station in Clinton, MA.

According to his World War I draft registration card of 09/12/1918, Reamer lived at the Rainier Grand Hotel. His wife, Louise, remianed in Biloxi, MS, at that time. (A note at the bottom of the form said. "Wife is going to come here.") (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Registration State: Washington; Registration County: King; Roll: 1991895; Draft Board: 06, accessed 05/03/2018.)

The 1920 US Census listed Louise and Jane Reamer living at 213 Reynoir Street in Biloxi, MS. The census form indicated that Louise was "widowed." This seems to have been a mistake, although it could also reflect the strain of moving so much and living apart from Robert. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: Biloxi Ward 3, Harrison, Mississippi; Roll: T625_876; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 41, accessed 05/03/2018.) Robert, however, lived in Des Moine, IA, in 1920, where he boarded with the family of Frank G. Hedderly, who worked as a mechanic and a truck dirver over the years. He would later live in Tacoma, WA, by 1928. It appears that Reamer may have worked as an architect in Des Moines for a short time.

In 1922, Robert and his family lived at 1809 East John Street in the Miller Park neighborhood of Seattle. Between 1926 and 1933, at least, they lived at 1607 40th Avenue in Seattle. (See Seattle, Washington, City Directory, 1926, p. 1228 andSeattle, Washington, City Directory, 1933, p. 1238.)

Reamer lived in Seattle for about 18 years, according to the Seattle Times in 1938. He died of a heart attack in his residence at 1607 40th Avenue in Seattle, WA, on the morning of 01/07/1938. The newspaper indicated that he had been in ill health for "only a few weeks" when he died.

Parents

His mother was Frances F Cole (1841-1930), aged 32, and Chambers D Reamer (1843-1930), aged 30. They maintained a strict Congregationalist home environment. (See Ruth Quinn,Weaver of Dreams: The Life and Architecture of Robert C. Reamer, [Gardiner, MT: Leslie and Ruth Quinn, 2004], p. 19.)

Chambers Reamer served as a corporal in the Union Army between 08/11/1862 and 05/30/1865. (See Ancestry.com, Source Information: Ohio, Soldier Grave Registrations, 1804-1958 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2017, accessed 06/28/2019.)

His brother was Daniel A. Reamer (born 05/12/1871), who also became an architect.

Spouse

Reamer married twice. His first wife was Mabel Hawkins Reamer (born c. 12/1875 in IL-d. 08/29/1906 in San Diego, CA). They married c. 1899. Mabel's parents came from PA. The 1910 US Census form indicated that Reamer had been widowed. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: Yellowstone National Park, Uinta, Wyoming; Roll: T624_1747; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0001; FHL microfilm: 1375760, accessed 05/03/2018.)

At age 28, Robert Reamer wed the 33-year-old Clara Louise Chase (1878 in LeRoy, NY-d. 12/22/1933 in Seattle, WA,) on 10/04/1911 in Chicago, IL. (See Ancestry.com, Source Information: Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011, accessed 06/28/2019.) She went by the name "Louise." Her parents were James Henry Chase (d.1882) and Jane Meldrum (1839-1899)

Children

Robert and Clara had one daughter, Jane Meldrum Reamer White (born 01/03/1913 in Newton, MA-12/22/1994 in Polk County, NC), who graduated from the University of Washington (UW), in 06/1937.

Biographical Notes

At age 21, California voter rolls listed Reamer as standing 5-feet, 10-inches tall with a dark Caucasian complexion, brown hair and brown eyes. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation California State Library, California History Section; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4 - 2A; CSL Roll Number: 40; FHL Roll Number: 977095, accessed 06/28/2019.) His World War I draft registration card described him as being of medium height and stout build, with brown eyes and dark grey hair. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Registration State: Washington; Registration County: King; Roll: 1991895; Draft Board: 06, accessed 06/28/2019.)

Member, Washington Athletic Club (WAC), Seattle, WA.

Historian Ruth Quinn presented the lecture, "R.C. Reamer: Weaver of Dreams," in a special lecture program, "Art Deco to Modernism: Interwar Architecture in the Pacific Northwest," held Saturday, 03/19/2011, at the Chapel at Good Shepherd Center, Seattle, WA; the event was sponsored by Historic Seattle.



Associated Locations

  • Oberlin, OH (Architect's Birth)
    Oberlin, OH

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

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PCAD id: 2427


NameDateCityState
1411 4th Avenue Building, Downtown, Seattle, WA1929-1930SeattleWA
Band Pavilion, Coronado, CACoronadoCA
Bellingham Hotel #2, Bellingham, WABellinghamWA
Boston & Maine Railroad and New York, New Hampshire & Hartford Railroads, Union Railroad Station, Clinton, MA1914ClintonMA
Clough, Solon H. and Katherine Eliza Taylor, House, Golden Hill, San Diego, CA1895San DiegoCA
Community Hotel Corporation, Olympic Hotel #2, Downtown, Seattle, WA1923-1924SeattleWA
Emerson Hotel, Hoquiam, WAHoquiamWA
Fox Theatre, Billings, MTBillingsMT
Fox West Coast Theatres Corporation, Fox Spokane Theatre, Spokane, WA1930-1931SpokaneWA
Graham, Donald, House, Seattle, WASeattleWA
Great Northern Railway Company, Office Building, Seattle, WA1928-1929SeattleWA
Green Meadows Ranch, Helena, MTHelenaMT
Hill, George H., Building, San Diego, CA1929San DiegoCA
Lewis and Clark Hotel, Centralia, WACentraliaWA
Maine Central Railroad Depot, Augusta, MEAugustaME
Manning's Incorporated, Coffee Store, University District, Seattle, WA1930SeattleWA
Masonic Building, Home, Helena, MTHelenaMT
Meany, Edmond, Hotel, University District, Seattle, WA1929-1931SeattleWA
Metropolitan Building Company, Skinner Building, 5th Avenue Theatre, Metropolitan Tract, Downtown, Seattle, WA1925-1926SeattleWA
Metropolitan Building Company, Skinner Building, Metropolitan Tract, Downtown, Seattle, WA1926-1927SeattleWA
Mount Baker Theatre, Bellingham, WA1927BellinghamWA
National Park Service, Olympic National Forest, Lake Quinault Lodge, Quinault, WA1926-1926QuinaultWA
National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park, Canyon Hotel, Yellowstone National Park, WY1910-1911Yellowstone National ParkWY
National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park, Lake Lodge, Yellowstone National Park, WY1926Yellowstone National ParkWY
National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park, Lake Yellowstone Hotel, Yellowstone National Park, WY1891Yellowstone National ParkWY
National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful Area General Stores, Yellowstone National Park, WYYellowstone National ParkWY
National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park, WY1903-1904Yellowstone National ParkWY
Northern Pacific Railway Company, Passenger Depot, Gardiner, MT1903GardinerMT
Schreiber, Mary, House, San Diego, CA1895-1896San DiegoCA
Seattle Times Company, Headquarters Building #5, Cascade, Seattle, WA 1930-1931SeattleWA
Weyerhaeuser Experimental House, Seattle, WA1935SeattleWA
Yellowstone Park Improvement Company, Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, Yellowstone National Park, WY 1883Yellowstone National ParkWY
"Seattle Honor Awards : Washington State Chapter, A.I.A.", American Architect, 133: 190, 2/5/1928. Naylor, David, American Picture Palaces The Architecture of Fantasy, 172, 219, 1981. Naylor, David, American Picture Palaces The Architecture of Fantasy, 88, 92, 97, 217, 1981. "Hotel Edmond Meany, Seattle, Wash. ", Architectural Record, 71: 179, 03/1932. Woodbridge, Sally, Montgomery, Roger, Guide to Architecture in Washington State, 210-211, 1980. Woodbridge, Sally, Montgomery, Roger, Guide to Architecture in Washington State An Environmental Perspective, 127-128, 1980. Woodbridge, Sally, Montgomery, Roger, Guide to Architecture in Washington State An Environmental Perspective, 129, 1980. Woodbridge, Sally, Montgomery, Roger, Guide to Architecture in Washington State An Environmental Perspective, 129, 1980. Woodbridge, Sally, Montgomery, Roger, "Weyerhaeuser Experimental House, 1935", Guide to Architecture in Washington State: An Environmental Perspective, 177, 1980. Huston, Barbara, "New Light on Old Walls", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, E-1, E-4., 1978-04-16. "Robert Reamer, Architect, Dies", Seattle Times, 7, 1938-01-07. Upchurch, Michael, "History set in stone", Seattle Times, C1-C2, 07/22/2008. "30 Days to See Work under Way", Seattle Times, 1, 8, 1925-09-17. Ochsner, Jeffrey Karl, "Introduction, A Historical Overview of Architecture in Seattle", Shaping Seattle Architecture A Historical Guide to the Architects, xxviii, 1994. Leavengood, David L., "Robert C. Reamer", Shaping Seattle Architecture A Historical Guide to the Architects, 187, 1994. Leavengood, David L., "Robert C. Reamer", Shaping Seattle Architecture A Historical Guide to the Architects, 186, 1994. Leavengood, David L., "Robert C. Reamer", Shaping Seattle Architecture A Historical Guide to the Architects, 188, 1994. Leavengood, David, "Robert C. Reamer", Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects, 189, 1994. Quinn, Ruth, Weaver of Dreams, 2005.