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Male, US, born 1870-01-10, died 1953-09-04

Associated with the firms network

Naramore, Grainger and Thomas, Architects; Somervell and Thomas, Associated Architects; Thomas and Grainger, Architects; Thomas, Grainger and Thomas, Architects; Thomas, Harlan, Architect; Thomas, Russell and Rice, Architects

Professional History


Partner, Thomas, Russell, and Rice, Architects, Denver, CO, and Seattle, WA, 1900-1910.

Mayor (3 terms), Montclair, CO, 1897-1903.

Principal, Harlan C. Thomas, Architect, Seattle, WA, 1911-1923. Thomas associated with W. Marbury Somervell, Architect, Seattle, WA, on several projects 1912-1915.

Partner, Thomas and [Clyde] Grainger, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1924-1926. Harlan C. Thomas scaled back his workload c. 1930, and in 1931, he took a 4-month trip abroad.

Associate, Naramore, Grainger and Thomas, Associated Architects, Seattle, WA, 1935-1937, the firm assembled to work on the Bagley Hall Chemistry and Pharmacy Building at the University of Washington.

Designer, and Senior Partner, Thomas, Grainger and [Donald P.] Thomas, Architects, Seattle, WA, 1927-1949. Thomas retired from active practice in 1949.


Professor of Architecture / Director of the School of Architecture, University of Washington, Seattle, 1926-1940. Thomas's faculty of the UW Architecture School in 1936 consisted of: Prof. Arthur P. Herrman, Prof. Lance Gowen, Prof. Lionel H. Pries, Henry J. Olschewsky, Charles Alden, Prof. S.I. Sergev, Prof. Raymond L. Hill, Prof. Dudley Pratt, and Merlin J. Hauan.

Professional Service

Patron, Seattle Architectural Club, Seattle, WA, 1910.

Member, American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington State Chapter, 1910-1911.

Member, Architectural League of the Pacific Coast, 1913. Thomas was one of the attendees at the league's annual conference in Portland, OR, on 06/09/1913. (See "League to Lead in City Planning," Oregon Daily Journal, 06/10/1913, p. 11.)

In 04/1922, Thomas lectured on Japanese prints at the American Institute of Architects, Washington State Chapters' Small Home Exhibit. An article in the Seattle Union Record noted: "“Art students have arranged for a lecture on Japanese prints by Harlan Thomas, who has traveled widely in Japan, and owns the most complete collection in the city, for April 27.” (See “Seattle Architects Will Show Small House Plans,” Seattle Union Record, 04/03/1922, p. 3.)

President, AIA, Washington State Chapter, 1924-1926.

Director, State Camouflage School, Washington State Defense Council, 1942-1943; he developed the curriculum of a fifteen-week course for the Office of Civilian Defense, School of Camouflage, beginning 10/16/1942.

Professional Awards

Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1928.


Thomas's professional papers were destroyed. Photographs of Thomas's work have been preserved at the University of Washington Libraries' Special Collections Division, Harlan Thomas Architectural Work Photograph Collection, Collection #394.



College preparatory school, Colorado State College, Fort Collins, CO., 1885.

B.S., Colorado State College, Fort Collins, CO, 1886, 1891-06/1894. Thomas studied mathematics and mechanical engineering at Colorado State.

Coursework, American Atelier, Paris, France, 1895-1896. (The master of his studio was "Marcel Peruse de Montelo." The spelling of this name is in error.) Thomas and his wife stayed in Europe for 16 months.



Born in IA, Thomas lived for much of his youth in Fort Collins, CO; his father's death forced him to leave Colorado State College in 1886, to obtain carpentry work in Denver, CO, where he remained for about five years. He returned to Colorado State College in 1891 and graduated in 06/1894; Thomas moved to Paris in 1895-1896 to attend the American Atelier, an architecture school not connected to the premier Ecole des Beaux-Arts; in 1896, he returned to Denver and resumed a nascent architectural practice.

He traveled with his family around the world from 03/1903-06/1904, returning to Denver. In 1900, Thomas lived with his family at 80 Saratoga Street in Montclair, CO; at this time, the family included a Swedish-born servant, Mary S. Carlson (born 05/1858).

Thomas moved with his family to Seattle, WA, in 1906, where he built a new residence at 802 West Lee Street; the Thomases lived in 1910 in a dwelling at 1401 14th Avenue West, Seattle; again, at this time, a 20-year-old, Scandinavian-born servant, Maria Rundel, lived with the family; he lived in a rented house at 607 15th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA, in 1930; he died in Seattle, WA, at the age of 83.


Both of Harlan Thomas's parents came from IN. His father, Irving Newton Thomas, was a Union Army veteran, who moved the family from Des Moines, IA, to Fort Collins, CA, during Harlan's boyhood.

He had a brother, Willis R. Thomas, who also lived in Seattle, WA, in 1923.


Thomas married to Edith D. Partridge, c. 1895; she was born 11/1872 in CT; her parents came from MA.


Thomas's eldest child was Dorothy W. Thomas, (born 08/1896 in CO). Harlan Thomas's son was Donald P. Thomas (b. 01/10/1898), who later became a prominent Seattle architect.

Biographical Notes

Thomas spent 16 months abroad in 1895-1896, studying at a Parisian architectural atelier and drawing monuments throughout Europe. It was also known that Thomas had traveled in Japan by 1922, as well. (See “Seattle Architects Will Show Small House Plans,” Seattle Union Record, 04/03/1922, p. 3.)

Member, Board of Control, Colorado College, Fort Collins, CO, c. 1897-1903.

Thomas spent 15 months abroad in 1903-1904 to sketch and paint architecture around the world.

Thomas traveled for 7 months abroad in 1923. In 1923, at age 53, Harlan Thomas stood six feet tall, with hazel eyes, brown hair, "medium" nose, "medium" mouth, fair Causasian complexion and "full" face. He had a scar on his right thumb, according to his US passport application of 1923.

According to Thomas's great-grandson, architect Jeff Williams of Ketchum, ID, Harlan Thomas's real name was "Irving Harlan Thomas."

Associated Locations

  • Des Moines, IA (Architect's Birth)
    Des Moines, IA

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

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PCAD id: 2256

7th Church of Christ Scientist, Queen Anne, Seattle, WA1926SeattleWA
Aberdeen School District #5, Weatherwax, J.M., High School #1, Aberdeen, WA 1909AberdeenWA
Chelsea Hotel, Queen Anne, Seattle, WA1906-1907SeattleWA
City of Seattle, Engineering Department (SED), Montlake Bridge, Seattle, WA1923-1925SeattleWA
City of Seattle, Public Library (SPL), Branch, Columbia City, Seattle, WA1914-1915SeattleWA
City of Seattle, Public Library (SPL), Branch, Queen Anne, Seattle, WA1912-1913SeattleWA
City of Seattle, Public Library (SPL), Yesler, Henry L., Branch, Central District, Seattle, WA1913-1914SeattleWA
College Club #2, Downtown, Seattle, WA 1920-1921SeattleWA
Estabrook Building #2, Downtown, Seattle, WA SeattleWA
Grainger, Clyde, House #2, Seattle, WASeattleWA
Harborview Medical Center, Campus, First Hill, Seattle, WA1931SeattleWA
King County, Hospital #2, Seattle,WA1931SeattleWA
National Park Service, Mount Rainier National Park, Longmire Lodge, Longmire, WALongmireWA
National Park Service, Mount Rainier National Park, Paradise Inn, Ashford, WA1915-1917AshfordWA
Pacific McKay Building, South Lake Union, Seattle, WA 1925SeattleWA
Public Market Center, Pike Place Market, Corner Market Building, Seattle, WA1911-1912SeattleWA
Rhodes Brothers Company, 10-Cent Store #2, Downtown, Seattle, WA 1924SeattleWA
Rhodes Company, Rhodes of Seattle Department Store #2, Downtown, Seattle, WA1927SeattleWA
Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church, Seattle, WASeattleWA
Sand Point Community United Methodist Church, Sand Point, Seattle, WASeattleWA
Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Office Building #2, Downtown, Seattle, WA1924SeattleWA
Sorrento Hotel, First Hill, Seattle, WA1907-1908SeattleWA
Stillaguamish Fishing Country Club, Clubhouse, Snoqualmie, WASnoqualmieWA
Thomas, Harlan C. and Edith, House #1, Queen Anne, Seattle, WASeattleWA
Thomas, Harlan C. and Edith, House #2, Ballard, Seattle, WASeattleWA
University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Chemistry and Pharmacy Building, Seattle, WA1935-1937SeattleWA
University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity House, Seattle, WA1914SeattleWA
University of Washington, Seattle (UW), Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority House, Seattle, WA1930SeattleWA
Wedgwood Tract Houses, Wedgwood, Seattle, WA1941-1942
A Chronicle of Harlan Thomas--Designing Architect, 2, 1975-10. Gugler, Eric, "Obituary", American Institute of Architects Journal, 17: 71-73, 02/1952. "The Sorrento: a link with Seattle's elegant past ", Argus, 90: 15, 2, 04/15/1983. City of Seattle, Department of Community Development, Detailed History of the Corner Market Building & Environs, 11-13, 1975-10. Woodbridge, Sally, Montgomery, Roger, "Hotel Sorrento. 1908", Guide to Architecture in Washington State, 147, 1980. Woodbridge, Sally, Montgomery, Roger, "Queen Anne Library, 1913", Guide to Architecture in Washington State, 199, 1980. Woodbridge, Sally, Montgomery, Roger, Guide to Architecture in Washington State An Environmental Perspective, 148, 1980. Kreisman, Lawrence, Historic Preservation in Seattle, 24, 87, 1985. "Chelsea Hotel, Seattle, Washington", Inland Architect and News Record, 52: plate following p. 54, 10/1908. Pacific Builder and Engineer, 11/11/1911. Seattle Architectural Club Yearbook 1910, 1910. "Rhodes Brothers Open Second Store: celebration Marks Twenty-Fifth Anniversary", Seattle Daily Times, 11, 1924-12-15. "$700,000 City Building Projects Announced Seven-Story Department Store Planned", Seattle Daily Times, 10, 1922-10-01. "Sorrento ordered to rehire fired help", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, C1, col. 1 , 03/15/1983. Cohen, Aubrey, "Salvation for Queen Anne church", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, B2, 2007-09-01. "The Chelsea Seattle's Scenic Hotel", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1909-11-21. "A getaway that's right next door", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, D5, col. 4-6, 01/05/1984. "U. Architects' Fee Approved by Inquiry", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1, 1926-11-29. Cohen, Aubrey, "Neighbors try to save historic church", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, B4, 03/06/2007. "Sorrento agrees to pay $100,000 in back wages", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, C2, col. 1-2, 11/29/1983. "Queen Anne library to reopen with fanfare", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, B2, 08/25/2007. "Recently Completed Hostelry Which Is a Credit to Seattle", Seattle Sunday Times, 7, 05/30/1909. "$700,000 City Building Projects Announced; Seven Story Department Store Block Planned", Seattle Times, 10, 1922-10-01. "Renovations to close 2 libraries", Seattle Times, B3, 11/19/2006. "Sorrento Hotel ceases operations", Seattle Times, 59, 07/08/1964. "Sorrento hotel sold; owner to reopen", Seattle Times, 10, 10/30/.1964. "Seattle Architects Will Show Small House Plans", Seattle Union Record, 3, 1922-04-03. "Grand hotel: The Sorrento's Hunt Club offers a bygone glamour on your plate", Seattle Weekly, 29, 10/22/2003. Jackson, Leslie , "The sauntering Seattleite -- the Sorrento Hotel", Seattlife, 57-59, 02/1940. Johnston, Norman J., "Harlan Thomas", Shaping Seattle Architecture, 129, 1994. Johnston, Norman J., "Harlan Thomas", Shaping Seattle Architecture, 131, 1994. Johnston, Norman J., "Harlan Thomas", Shaping Seattle Architecture, 131, 1994. Johnston, Norman J., "Harlan Thomas", Shaping Seattle Architecture, 131, 1994. Johnston, Norman J. , "Harlan Thomas", Shaping Seattle Architecture, 126-127, 1994. Johnston, Norman J., "Harlan Thomas", Shaping Seattle Architecture, 126-128, 1994. Johnston, Norman J. , "Harlan Thomas", Shaping Seattle Architecture, 126-127, 1994. Johnston, Norman J., "Harlan Thomas", Shaping Seattle Architecture, 1994. Johnston, Norman J., "Harlan Thomas", Shaping Seattle Architecture, 130, 1994. Shaping Seattle Architecture Second Edition, 241, 2014. Sorrento Hotel, Seattle: High atop Seattle's First Hill, Johnston, Norman J., The Campus Guide: University of Washington, 63-64, 2001. The Chelsea, np, 1909. Twenty-fourth Annual Report of the Seattle Public Library 1914, 24: 6, 1914. Humphrey, Clark, Vanishing Seattle, 16, 2006. Hunt, Herbert , Kaylor, F. C., Washington, West of the Cascades, 92-95, 1917. "Sorento [sic] Apartments, Seattle, Washington", Western Architect, 10: plates following page 10, 07/1909. "Sorrento Apartments, Seattle Washington", Western Architect, 14: plates following page 6, 1909-07.