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Male, US, born 1860-05-11, died 1939-08-01

Associated with the firms network

Skillings and Corner, Architects; Skillings, Warren Porter, Architect


Professional History

Résumé

Clerk, Bowditch, Skillings and Company, Millinery Goods, Boston, MA, 1881; his half-brother, Charles, was involved in the operation of this company; Clerk, D.L. Sheplie and Company, (another hat company), Boston, MA, 1882-1885. According to the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity Directory, 1890, Skillings was a "Student of Architecture with Cabot & Chandler, Architects, Boston, Mass.; Snell & Gregorson [sic], ib.; 1886-1887." The 1889 Boston, MA, City Directory indicated that he was a draughtsman who worked in Room #15 of the Studio Building, and had a home in Malden, (p. 1158). It appears that Skillings made the transition from being a clerk to being involved in architecture in 1888 or 1889, and that he had some experience in the field before he came to Seattle in 1890.

Principal, Warren Porter Skillings, Architect, Seattle, WA, 1890-1892; Partner, Skillings and Corner, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1893- 10/1897. According to the 1901 Census of Canada, Skillings left Seattle in 10/1897 and resided in the gold mining town of Dawson, Yukon Territories, Canada, until at least that time. He seems to have abandoned his partnership with James N. Corner (1862-1919), although this firm was still listed in the Seattle City Directories of 1898 and 1899. The Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada 1800-1950 indicated that he left Dawson in late 1902 for San Francisco, where he became an architect working in the office of the upper-crust firm of Bliss and Faville, Architects. Architect, Bliss and Faville, Architects, San Francisco, CA, c. 19021903. Principal, Warren Porter Skillings, Architect, Eureka, CA, c. 1904-1910. Principal, Warren Porter Skillings, Architect, San Jose, CA, 1910-c.1933. It appears that the Depression helped ease Skillings into retirement during the early-to-mid 1930s.


Professional Service

Skillings belonged to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) from 1926 until his death in 1939.

Education

College

B.A., Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME, 1877-1881. He graduated with the Class of 1881. While at Bowdoin, Skillings joined Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. A roster of Delta Kappa Epsilon initiates of 1900 listed Skillings, his profession, architecture, and Malden, MA, presumably where he lived while attending Bowdoin.

While at Bowdoin, he worked as the Business Manager for the Bugler, a student newspaper, in 1879.

Personal

Relocation

Born in Portland, ME, Warren P. Skillings spent his early years in New England. The US Census of 1860 indicated that he lived with his family in Portland, ME, and it seems he considered Portland his hometown until 1878. Warren attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, between 1877 and 1881. A Bowdoin College Yearbook of 1878 listed his hometown as Portland, ME while the 1879 volume indicated that Skillings mentioned Milford, MA, as his hometown. According to the US Census of 1880, he resided in the summer of 1880 with his half-brother, Charles W. Skillings, in Malden, MA, where his elder sibling operated a millinery business. (See Source Citation Year: 1880; Census Place: Malden, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: 540; Family History Film: 1254540; Page: 370C; Enumeration District: 397; Image: 0555. Accessed 07/29/2015.) Skillings spent his time from 1881-1888 working in Boston for two hat companies, and living in Malden, MA, north of the city. He obtained some experience in architectural offices in Boston during the 1886-1887 period, and probably worked as an architect in Malden for a bried period before relocating in 1890 to Seattle that had its central business district leveled by a massive fire on 06/06/1889.

He spent about seven years in Seattle, working on his own for about two-and-a-half years (1890-1892) before he created a partnership with James N. Corner (1862-1919). He moved residences frequently in Seattle while residing here, from 1416 Joy Street (in 1893), The Vendome Hotel (1894), and 506 Olympic Avenue (1895).

Like many in Seattle and on the West Coast, Skillings became infected with gold fever during the Yukon Gold Rush after 1897. He moved to Dawson City, Yukon Territories, Canada, by 10/1897, and remained there until late 1902. From the hardscrabble context of Dawson, he transitioned to the far gentler Bay Area, working in San Francisco for the architectural firm of Bliss and Faville. It is unclear how long he remained in San Francisco, although his name was not listed in the city's directory for 1903. He moved from here to Eureka, CA, where he stayed from 1904-1910, operating his own practice in an office at 406 F Street in Downtown Eureka.

By 1910, Skillings has transplanted himself to San Jose, CA, a year after marrying his second wife, Esther Skillings. He resided at 333 South Crittenden Street in San Jose, CA, with Esther in 1910. (See Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: San Jose Ward 3, Santa Clara, California; Roll: T624_106; Page: 21A; Enumeration District: 0102; FHL microfilm: 1374119. Accessed 07/29/2015.) A year later, the Skillings resided at 170 South Priest Street, renamed in 1913, South 14th Street. (See San Jose City Directory, 1911-1912,p. 614 and San Jose City Directory, 1913-1914, p. 399.) In 1920, Skillings lived alone in an apartment at 252 3rd Street in San Jose. (See Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: San Jose, Santa Clara, California; Roll: T625_148; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 170; Image: 32. Accessed 07/29/2015.) The 1930 US Census indicated that he continued to live in San Jose, CA, at 1030 Fairview Avenue in the city's Willow Glen neighborhood. He owned this residence worth approximately $8,000. This census form recorded that Skillings married first at age 50, which was not correct, as he married first in 1883. (See Source Citation Year: 1930; Census Place: Willow Glen, Santa Clara, California; Roll: 218; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0079; Image: 130.0; FHL microfilm: 2339953. Accessed 07/29/2015.) Lack of work during the Depression forced him to give up his Downtown San Jose office at 14 West San Fernando Street Room #206 by 1933; for two years, he practiced from his home (1933 and 1934) at 1030 Fairview Avenue. His name disappeared from the San Jose City Directory's list of architects in 1935.


Parents

His father was Charles Porter Skillings (c. 1814-11/20/1890), his mother, Martha E. Dyer (1834-1871), who was Charles's second wife. They married in 1858. According to the US Census of 1860, Charles and Martha had three children: Clark W. (born c. 1843), Franklin (born c. 1846) and Warren, age 1. Charles worked as a trader in 1860 and 1876. (See Source Citation Year: 1860; Census Place: Portland, Cumberland, Maine; Roll: M653_436; Page: 647; Image: 648; Family History Library Film: 803436. Accessed 07/29/2015.) In a Washington State Census of 1892, Skillings indicated that he was married. (See Source Information Ancestry.com. Washington State and Territorial Censuses, 1857-1892 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Accessed 07/30/2015.)

Charles P. Skillings married three times: in 1840, he married Mary Ann Jordan (1817-1848). (Source Citation: Source number: 1667.000; Source type: Electronic Database; Number of Pages: 1; Submitter Code: JBH. Accessed 07/29/2015.) At age 62, he wed for the third time to Angeline Bradford Nelson on 12/25/1876 in Boston. (See Source Information Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. Accessed 07/29/2015.)

Spouse

Warren P. Skilling married at least three times, and seems to have abandoned his first wife. His first wife was Flora Hall Skillings (d. 06/20/1943), whom he married on 12/05/1883 in Gloucester, MA. Her parents were Jere F. and Georgianna Hall. She was 21 in 1883, he, 24. It appears that Flora did not accompany Warren to Seattle in 1890, although she continued to use her married name until her death in 06/20/1943. In Malden, MA's City Directories of 1935 (p. 353) and 1937 (p. 375), Flora indicated that she was the "widow of Warren P. Skillings," although he was alive and well living in San Jose (married to a third wife) until 1939.

By 10/1909, he had wed Esther Evans Skillings (1866-1954), although this marriage ended in divorce by about 1920. He and Esther probably were separated by 1919, when he moved out of the residence at 499 South 5th Street and into the Saint James Hotel. (See 1919 San Jose City Santa Clara County Directory, n.p.) Esther, like Flora, kept her married name, although she was estranged from her husband. She lived from at least 1925-1942 in Eureka, in the latter year, she resided with her sister, Elizabeth Compton. She passed away in Los Angeles County.

By at least 1924, he had wed M. Beatrice Skillings (born c. 1891 in KS), who was 30 years her husband's junior. She continued to live in San Jose after Warren's death until 1942, when she was listed in Alameda County working as a saleswoman. She may have lived in Mountain View, CA, by 1966.
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Biographical Notes

Information published by Bowdoin College in its General Catalogue of Bowdoin College, 1794-1916, indicated the following about Skillings: "Warren Porter Skillings. b. 11 May, 1860, Milford, Mass. Bowdoin, 1877-1880. Architect, Malden, Mass.; Seattle, Wash.; Eureka, Cal." A "Copy of an Old Record of a Birth" located in the Maine State Archives, indicated that Skillings had his birthday in 1859 not 1860. (See Source Citation Maine State Archives; Cultural Building, 84 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0084; Pre 1892 Delayed Returns; Roll #: 92. Accessed 07/29/2015.)



Associated Locations

  • Portland, ME (Architect's Birth)
    Portland, ME

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  • San Jose, CA (Architect's Death)
    San Jose, CA

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PCAD id: 2699