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Male, US, born 1866-05-17, died 1932-01-03

Associated with the firm network

Albright, Harrison, Architect

Professional History


Principal, Harrison Albright, Architect, Ogontz/Philadelphia, PA, c. 1886-1891; according to architectural historian Cynthia Malinick: "Evidence also suggests that the fledgling architect apprenticed for several years at different firms before establishing his own office in 1886 at 508 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. For the next five years, he designed numerous residential and commercial structures in the vicinity, including homes, churches, schools, apartments, police stations, stables, and even a pavilion and boat landing." (See Cynthia B. Malinick "Classicism and Concrete: Harrison Albright's Architectural Contributions to Coronado," Journal of San Diego History, Spring 1997, vol. 43, no. 2,Accessed 06/29/2012.)

Principal, Harrison Albright, Architect, Charleston, WV, c. 1891-1905; he was appointed State Architect for West Virginia. He designed various state facilities in WV, including the Annex to the State Capitol, Charleston, WV, (1905). As his career went on, Albright's range of commissions expanded, and he began doing work well outside of the WV, PA, and OH, region. He was selected to design the West Virginia State Building at the Saint Louis World's Fair of 1904, and was known to have designed buildings in NY and NJ.

Principal, Harrison Albright, Architect, Los Angeles/San Diego, CA, c. 1905-1925. In 1905, Albright opened a practice that was based in Room 176 of the Chaffee Building, Los Angeles, CA, but he moved to the Homer Laughlin Building, Rooms #528-534 by 1907. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1907, p. 1651.) By 1913, his office was located at 315 South Broadway, Room #532, Los Angeles. Soon after arriving in Southern CA, Albright began making connections with three wealthy patrons living in both Los Angeles and San Diego. Two wealthy San Diego clients included the multimillionaire John D. Spreckels (1853-1926) and roller spring magnate Henry Timken (1831-1909). He became a favorite designer of Spreckels, a California real estate and transportation magnate, who was also heir to a huge fortune in sugar amassed by his father, Claus Spreckels (1828-1908); for John D. Spreckels, Albright designed five buildings, including the Spreckels House (Coronado Beach, CA, 1908), the Spreckels Theater (San Diego, CA, 1912), and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, (Balboa Park, San Diego, CA, 1914-1915). Numerous commissions in San Diego encouraged him to open a branch office in that city; in 1914, Albright operated two offices, one in Los Angeles, and one in San Diego, at 121 Broadway, Room #634. (See San Diego, California, City Directory, 1914, p. 1400.) The Los Angeles office was located in Room #532 of the Laughlin Building. (See San Pedro and Wilmington, California, City Directory, 1914, p. 2509.)

A prominent Los Angeles client was the successful dishware manufacturer Homer Laughlin (1843-1913). Laughlin became wealthy after he won a municipal competition to build a ceramics factory in East Liverpool, OH, in 1872, a town directly across the Ohio River from WV. Opened in 1874, Laughlin's business became phenomenally successful, requiring the factory to expand several times before he sold his interest in it in 1897 and moved to CA. Albright may have known the celebrated Laughlin from his time in WV, but almost certainly would have known of him and his large company. Both Timken and Laughlin retired to Southern CA in 1897, while Spreckels, who had visited San Diego in the 1880s and developed extensive real estate, railroad and utility interests there, moved south permanently from San Francisco following that city's Great Earthquake of 1906.

His 1913 entry in Who's Who on the Pacific Coast (p. 11-12) listed the following buildings as designed by him: Capitol Annex, Charleston, WV; Marshall College Buildings, Huntington, WV; Miners Hospital, Fairmont, WV; Shepherd College State Normal School, Sheperdstown, WV; concrete building for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (presumably the Los Angeles Freight Depot #2); Spreckles [sic] Union Building, San Diego; public library, Coronado.He also designed the notable U.S. Grant Hotel in San Diego. According to the occasionally reliable architectural biographers, Henry and Elsie Withey, his main work in Los Angeles was the ten-story Consolidated Realty Building, on the southwest corner of Hill Street and Sixth Street, built c. 1907. He worked as an architect for the Santa Fe Railroad, and designed the predecessor to Union Station in Los Angeles (now demolished), and the terminal at Ash Forks, AZ. For this client and others, Albright established himself as a notable proponent of reinforced concrete construction in Southern California.

Professional Activities

Member, American Institute of Architects, Southern California Chapter.


High School/College

Albright attended public secondary schools in Shoemakertown, PA, then the "Pierce College of Business," and, according to one author, possibly the Spring Garden Institute (formed in 1851), Spring Garden, Philadelphia, PA. (See Cynthia B. Malinick "Classicism and Concrete: Harrison Albright's Architectural Contributions to Coronado," Journal of San Diego History, Spring 1997, vol. 43, no. 2,Accessed 06/29/2012.) The author probably referred to the Peirce College of Business, founded in 1865 by Thomas May Peirce, in Philadelphia, PA. (It was also known as the "Union Business College" in its earliest days.) The school was located at 919 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia in 1885-1886, around the time Albright would have attended. It focused on producing effective business people of both sexes, a rarity for the period. About 300 women would have attended in the years Albright was there, most being trained for work as business secretaries. (See "About Peirce: Birth of a New Idea,"Accessed 06/29/2012.)



Born in Shoemakertown, (later known as Ogontz), PA, just after the Civil War, Albright was baptised at the Cheltenham United Methodist Church in Cheltenham, Township, Montgomery County, PA, on 10/14/1866. According to the U.S. Federal Census of 1880, a 14-year-old Harrison Albright continued to live in Cheltenham. (See, Source Citation Year: 1880; Census Place: Cheltenham, Montgomery, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1157; Family History Film: 1255157; Page: 31B; Enumeration District: 002; Image: 0469, accessed 12/19/2016.)

According to Gopsill's Philadelphia, PA, General & Business Directories of 1888-1890. Albright operated a practice in Philadelphia, PA, at 508 Walnut Street, and his home was on Oak Lane. (See Gopsill's Philadelphia, PA, General & Business Directory, 1888, p. 92, Gopsill's Philadelphia, PA, General & Business Directory, 1889, p. 93 and Gopsill's Philadelphia, PA, General & Business Directory, 1890, p. 93.)

Albright resettled in Charleston, WV, and practiced there between 1891-c.1905, designing hotels and institutional buildings. Charleston District, Kanawha County, WV, in 1891; his office was located in the National Bank Building. Albright attained a high degree of professional success in WV, becoming the State Architect in the early 1890s. Some of his WV work included the three-story, Neo-classical State Capitol Annex in Charleston, a Dormitory and Library Annex at Marshall College (Charleston, WV), and the West Virginia Insane Asylum, (Huntington, WV). Albright established at this time a reputation for designing hotels; these included the Waldo Hotel (Clarksburg, WV), the Washington Hotel, Portsmouth, WV, and his largest and most celebrated outside of CA, the second West Baden Springs Hotel (West Baden, IN, 1901-1902). Harrison and Susie Albright and their three children continued to reside in Charleston until 1905.

Albright re-established himself in Los Angeles, CA, on 03/28/1905, and worked for 20 years in Southern California. Between c. 1910-1920, Albright and his family lived at 618 Benton Boulevard in Los Angeles. (See, Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 64, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T625_108; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 228; Image: 962, accessed 12/19/2016.) According to the Standard Blue Book of California, 1913-1914, the Albrights lived at 618 Benton Boulevard in Los Angeles, but also maintained a residence in the Spring Valley area of San Diego County. (See The Standard Blue Book of California 1913-14, [Los Angeles: A.J. Peeler and Company, 1913], p. 44.)

He retired for health reasons in 1925 and, by 1930, the US Census reported that Harrison Albright was an "invalid" who lived with his wife and daughter, Catherine, on a citrus fruit ranch on Imperial Avenue in San Diego. He died in San Diego, CA, on 01/03/1932.


Albright's father was Joseph Albright, who worked as a carpenter, (born c. 1843, VA); his mother, Louise Jeannot Albright, was a homemaker, (born c. 1842 in Switzerland). In 1870, Joseph and his wife owned their own house worth $3,000 and had an estate valued $600; at this time, Harrison and his sister, Alice, (born c. 1868 in PA) lived at home, along with three others, Eddie Albright, (born 1859 in PA), Jane Fox (born c. 1859 in PA) and a teacher, Ellen Randall (born c. 1850 in PA). (See, Source Citation Year: 1870; Census Place: Cheltenham, Montgomery, Pennsylvania; Roll: M593_1377; Page: 279B; Image: 397636; Family History Library Film: 552876, accessed 12/19/2016.)

In 1880, the US Census reported that Joseph was married to an "Adle" Albright; it is not clear whether "Adle" was Louise, but she also had come from Switzerland and was born the same year. The household consisted of 10 people: Joseph and his wife, eldest son, Harrison, middle sister Alice, and sister Emma (born c. 1871 in PA). Boarders in 1880 included: Jane N. Fox, and four children: Meta Metzner (born c. 1873 in PA), Albert F. Metzner (born c. 1875 in PA) and Ida Metzner (born c. 1877 in PA), and Louise "Proceurov" (probably an incorrect spelling, born c. 1872 in CA). The Metzner children had parents from Switzerland, and may have been Swiss-born Louise/Adle Albright's relatives or children of friends.


Albright married his wife, Susan J. Bemus (b. 10/1867 in PA), in 1890; she went by "Susie." Her parents came from NY and NJ.

According to the Standard Blue Book of California, 1913-1914, Mrs. Albright "receives on Thursdays" and was a "member of the Ebell and Harmony Clubs of Los Angeles." (See Standard Blue Book of California, 1913-1914, [Los Angeles: A.J. Peeler and Company, 1913], p. 44.)


Harrison and Susan Albright had 4 children, 3 of whom were alive in 1910; daughters: Anna Louise (b. 03/1892 in WV) and Katherine (or Catherine) (b. 09/1894 in WV); son: Harrison B. Albright (b. 10/03/1896-d. 11/1976); in 1930, the younger Harrison Albright lived in La Mesa, CA, and was employed as a foreman on a fruit ranch.

Biographical Notes

As was popular in Southern California at the turn-of-the-century, Albright owned an orchard (probably citrus). He had purchased this by 1909.

Member, Jonathan Club, Los Angeles, CA. Member, Los Angeles Athletic Club, Los Angeles, CA. Member, Cuyumuca Club of San Diego, San Diego, CA.

Associated Locations

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

  • Ogontz, PA (Architect's Birth)
    Ogontz, PA

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    Earlier called Shoemakertown, PA;

PCAD id: 1381

Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF), Inbound Freight Depot #2, Los Angeles, CA1906-1907Los AngelesCA
Brockman Building, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1917Los AngelesCA
Citizens' Securities Company, Citizens' National Bank Building #1, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1905-1906Los AngelesCA
City of Columbus, City Water Works Pumping House and Electric Light Station, Columbus, IN1901-1903ColumbusIN
City of Coronado, Public Library, Coronado, CA1908CoronadoCA
Consolidated Realty Company, Office Building, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1909-1910Los AngelesCA
Coronado Bank, Office Building, Coronado, CA1917CoronadoCA
El Prado Complex, San Diego, CA1914-1915San DiegoCA
Golden West Hotel, Downtown, San Diego, CA1911San DiegoCA
Grant, Ulysses S., Hotel, San Diego, CA1905-1910San DiegoCA
Hotel San Diego, San Diego, CA1914San DiegoCA
Laughlin, Homer Building, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1897Los AngelesCA
Los Angeles Athletic Club (LAAC), Albright Project, Los Angeles, CALos AngelesCA
Panama-California Exposition, Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA1914-1915San DiegoCA
Richmond Hotel, Richmond, VARichmondVA
San Diego Unified School District. Reinforced Concrete School, San Diego, CA1907San DiegoCA
San Diego Union, Office Building #5, San Diego, CA1908San DiegoCA
Spreckels Office Building and Theatre, Downtown, San Diego, CA1910-1912San DiegoCA
Spreckels, John Diedrich, Sr., House, Coronado, CA1907-1908CoronadoCA
Timken Company, Office Building, San Diego, CA1907San DiegoCA
Titus, Harry Lewis, House, San Diego, CACoronadoCA
Waldo Hotel, Clarksburg, WVClarksburgWV
West Baden Springs Hotel #2, West Baden, IN1901-1902West BadenIN
"Cabot's Waterproof Cement Stains", American Architect, XCVI: 1770, 5, 11/24/1909. "Albright, Harrison Works", American Architect and Building News, 91: 1636, 5/4/1907. "Albright, Harrison Works", American Architect and Building News, 91: 1636, 5/4/1907. "Los Angeles Athletic Club Project", Architect & Engineer of California, 55, 4/1908. "Los Angeles Athletic Club Illustrations", Architect & Engineer of California, 75, 2/1908. Albright, Harrison, "Reinforced Concrete Construction in Southern California", Architect & Engineer of California, 7: 37, 1/1907. "Building for Henry Timken", Architect and Engineer of California, 76, 06/1908. "Photo of Broadway between 3rd Street and 4th Street, 1907", Arrowhead, 4, 01/1908. Withey, Henry F., Withey, Elsie Rathburn, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased), 12, 1970. Eighteenth annual report, Los Angeles Public Library, for the year ending November 30, 1906, 1-4, 1907. Malinick, Cynthia B., "Classicism and Concrete: Harrison Albright's Architectural Contributions to Coronado", Journal of San Diego History, 43: 2, Spring 1997. "Rebirth at the city's historic center; Grand Central Square is a spectacular urban catalyst", Los Angeles Downtown News, 30, 11/07/1994. Mandell, Jason, "Brockman Building to be sold", Los Angeles Downtown News, 1, 10, 12/15/2003. Maese, Kathryn, "Downtown, 90014", Los Angeles Downtown News, 1, 6, 03/08/2004. "New Santa Fe Depot to be Concrete", Los Angeles Evening Newspaper, 05/12/1906. "New Los Angeles Public Library will have delightful roof garden for city readers", Los Angeles Examiner, 45, 03/04/1906. "Brick Block Begins: Goes Up on Busy Corner", Los Angeles Times, 20, 1905-06-25. "Public Library to begin moving this week", Los Angeles Times, 33, 03/18/1906. "Big Building for South Hill", Los Angeles Times, V: 1, "High Block for South Hill", Los Angeles Times, V: 1, 12/5/1909. "Big Building for South Hill", Los Angeles Times, V: 1, 7/25/1909. "Plans for Timken Building, San Diego", Los Angeles Times, V: 1, "Reinforced Concrete School, San Diego", Los Angeles Times, V: 1, 9/22/1907. "New Bank Building", Los Angeles Times, 1, 1905-011-26. "Award Contracts for Residences at Coronado", San Diego Union, 12, col 3, 7/26/1907. "Plans Approved for Handsome Home for John D. Spreckels at Coronado", San Diego Union, II: 11, cols. 5-6, 7/21/1907. "San Diego Union Expansion Plans", Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer, 19, col. 2, 5/10/1913. Albright, Harrison, "Reinforced Concrete Construction and Why I Favor It", Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer, 2: 6, 1/9/1909. Harper, Franklin, "Albright, Harrison", Who's Who on the Pacific Coast 1913, 11-12, 1913.