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Male, US, born 1890-06-05, died 1961-08

Associated with the firms network

Beimer, Anthony, Building Contractor; Benton, Arthur B., Architect; Burnham, Franklin P., Architect; Kelly, Arthur R., Architect; Underwood, Gilbert Stanley, Architect


Professional History

Résumé

Gilbert Stanley Underwood had an active and successful architectural career, one that enabled him to travel the US extensively; this frequent travel may have taken its toll personally, but Underwood left behind a diverse body of work from coast to coast. He was clearly a strategic thinker, and made the shift effortlessly from private practice in the booming 1920s to government work with the onset of the Depression. He had a very active career in Washington, DC, where he worked for several agencies, producing an array of designs between 1932 and 1954.

Draftsman, Anthony Beimer, Building Contractor, San Bernardino, CA, c. 1908-1909.

Draftsman, Franklin Pierce Burnham, Architect, Los Angeles, CA, 1909-1910.

Draftsman, Arthur Burnett Benton, Architect, Los Angeles, CA, 1911. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1911, p.

As a student at the University of Illinois, he moonlighted with a local architect to earn money; on a job application, Underwood indicated that between 1912-1914 he worked for Smith, Hinchman and Grylls, a well-known Detroit-based firm.

Draftsman, Arthur Kelly, Architect, Los Angeles, CA, 1911-1912.

While at Harvard University in the early 1920s, Underwood also moonlighted to make money for his wife and son.

Principal, Gilbert Stanley Underwood, Architect, Los Angeles, CA, 1923-c. 1932. In addition to his main office in Los Angeles, Underwood also operated a branch at 703 Market Street, Room #1707 in 1927. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1927, p. 2145.) His Los Angeles office was located at 408 South Spring Street, Room #1404 in 1930. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1930, p. 2258.)

Underwood became acquainted with the rail tycoon, William Averell Harriman (1891–1986), who joined the Union Pacific Railroad in 1915 and served as its chairman between 1932–1946. Both Underwood and Harriman attended Yale University, although the former graduated seven years later. Underwood worked extensively with Harriman's Union Pacific Railroad in the 1920s, creating many terminals for the company. The Union Pacific recommended Underwood to the Utah Parks Company, which sought an architect to design rustic hotels for tourists, what became inns at Cedar Breaks National Monument, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. Underwood collaborated often with Daniel Hull, Senior Landscape Engineer with United States Park Service, on visitor accomodations at the Ahwahnee Hotel, Grand Canyon Lodge and Zion Lodge.

At the nadir of the Depression in 1932-1933, there was an extreme scarcity of lending capital for building projects, causing meagre prospects for architects everywhere; architects in Los Angeles fared a little better than those elsewhere, but conditions still remained grave. This situation prompted Underwood to use his contacts within the government (through the National Park Service), to search for more stable work with the Federal Government. His office was listed as "Gilbert Stanley Underwood and Company, Ltd.," in the Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1933, (p. 2480).

In the 1930s, Underwood became involved in the design of the Union Pacific Railroad's ski development at Sun Valley, ID, a project promoted by Harriman. According to one source, Underwood designed the lodge in 1935, before its site had been selected. Harriman enlisted an Austrian aristocrat, Count Franz Felix Schaffgotsch (1904-1942), a skiing enthusiast, bon vivant and seething anti-Semite, to scout out an appropriate location for the mountain resort, with decent, dry snow close by existing rail lines. After inspecting and rejecting sites in WA, OR, CA, UT, WY, and CO, Schaffgotsch was directed to examine a 4,300-acre site adjoining the Sawtooth Mountain National Forest. Schaffgotsch arrived in Ketchum, ID, on 01/16/1936, and began immediately siting the ski runs and location of a resort hotel. Construction on the 220-room Sun Valley Lodge began in 04/1936 and concluded late in the year. The $1.5 million hotel opened to the public on 12/21/1936.

Consulting Architect, United States Government, Department of the Treasury, Washington, DC, 1936-1939. During this time, Underwood designed a number of large US Post Offices in CA and along the West Coast. These included large facilities in Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as smaller ones in Burbank and Seattle.

Consulting Architect, Federal Works Agency, Washington, DC, 1940. The US Census of 1940 reported that he worked for the Federal Works Agency, created in 1939, that supervised public works and building construction and maintenance, until 1949. During his career, Rodd L. Wheaton estimated that he designed "...20 post offices, two major federal buildings, and the U.S. State Department Building." (See Rodd L. Wheaton, National Park Service, "Gilbert Stanley Underwood 1890-1960," accessed 03/30/2018.)

Architect, United States Government, Public Buildings Administration, Washington, DC, 1942.

Supervising Architect of the United States, Department of the Treasury, Washington, DC, 1947-1949.

Chief Architect, United States Government, General Services Administration (GSA), 1949-1954. Underwood retired from government work in 1954.

Principal, Gilbert Stanley Underwood, Architect, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 1955-1956. He lived and worked at 1838 NE 26th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. (See Fort Lauderdale, Florida, City Directory, 1955, p. 642 and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, City Directory, 1956, p. 868.) The architect was not listed in the architect's listing of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, City Directory, 1959,so it seems likely that he retired for good at sometime during 1957-1959.

Teaching

Chair, Los Angeles Architectural Club (LAAC), House and Entertainment Committees, Los Angeles, CA, 1915.

Massier of the Atelier, Los Angeles Architectural Club (LAAC), House and Entertainment Committees, Los Angeles, CA, 1915. (See "With the Architects and Engineers,"Architect and Engineer of California, vol. XLI, no. 1, 04/1915, p. 106.)

Education

College

Coursework, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL, 02/1912-1914.

Coursework, various universities in MI, VA and/or CA, 1914-1920. (He attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, in 1917.)

B.A., Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1920.

M.A., Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1921-1923.

College Awards

Active Member, Tau Sigma Delta, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1917. Students were selected into Tau Sigma Delta on the following criteria: "Students of Architecture and Landscape Design in the second semester of their Junior Year or first semester of their Senior Year, whose rank in scholarship is in the best one-fourth of their respective classes, are eligible. From these are selected, by the active members of the chapter, such men as are considered worthy by reason of their personality and good fellowship." (See the Michigansenian Yearbook, 1917, p. 398.)

Member, Alpha Rho Chi Class of 1917, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1917. (See the Michigansenian Yearbook, 1917, p. 64.)

Underwood won a competition sponsored by la Société des architectes diplômés du gouvernement for one-year study at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, while he was a student at Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1920.

Co-winner, Avery Prize, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1923.

Personal

Relocation

Underwood was born in Oneida, NY, in 1890. The US Census of 1900 reported that Gilbert resided with his parents at 2 Lake Street in Oneida, NY. His maternal grandmother, Carrie J. Myers, lived with the family on 06/01/1900, when the census was taken. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1900; Census Place: Oneida, Madison, New York; Page: 2; Enumeration District: 0028, accessed 03/29/2018.)

His parents moved to San Bernardino, CA, by 1908, and he resided with them at 153 7th Street. (See San Bernardino, California, City Directory, 1908, p. 216.) Frederick and Jennie remained at 153 7th Street in 1910, although Gilbert was not listed as living at home in the US Census of that year. (See Ancestry.com. Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: San Bernardino Ward 2, San Bernardino, California; Roll: T624_94; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 0118; FHL microfilm: 1374107, accessed 03/29/2018.) He seems to have moved to Los Angeles, CA, c. 1909, working for various architects there. The US Census of 1910 for Los Angeles, listed Underwood living at 1318 North Broadway in an apartment or rooming house. He worked as a draughtsman at the time. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 75, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T624_84; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 0089; FHL microfilm: 1374097, accessed 03/30/2018.) The Los Angeles City Directory, 1910, indicated that his address was 131 1/2 North Broadway. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1910, p. 1490.)

He decided on getting a college education, so he enrolled at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL, between 1912-1913. In 1912, he resided at 1301 West Clark Street in Urbana, IL. (See Champaign, Illinois, City Directory, 1912, p. 501.)

He got married in 1913 and soon left Illinois to find jobs where he could in MI, VA and CA. On 06/05/1917, Underwood lived at 1010 Monroe Street in Ann Arbor, MI, while he attended the University of Michigan. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Registration State: Michigan; Registration County: Washtenaw; Roll: 1682904, accessed 03/29/2018.)

In 1920, Underwood received a B.A. degree in architecture at Yale University, New Haven, CT. He then attended Harvard University for two years as a graduate student. He boarded at 1388 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, MA, in 1921, (See Cambridge, Massachusetts, City Directory, 1921, p. 1059.)

In 1923, he returned with his wife and son to Los Angeles, where he opened his own practice. They lived in the Laurel Canyon section of the city, and, during the silent film era, mixed with actors, artists, politicians, writers and newspaper reporters. Cowboy star Tom Mix (1880-1940) was a neighbor. From at least 1930-1932, the Underwoods lived at 3170 Lake Hollywood Drive in a residence worth a substantial $20,000. The family could afford to pay an African-American, live-in servant, named Lillian Sims (born c. 1908 in OK). (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Year: 1930; Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0068, accessed 03/29/2018 and Ancestry.com, Index to Register of Voters, Los Angeles City Precinct No. 971, Los Angeles County, CA, 1932.)

Underwood moved his family to Washington, DC, in 1936, when he took a job as a consulting architect for the Treasury Department. In Washington, DC, the Underwoods continued to socialize with the capital's creative set and politicians. He resided at 1426 Hemlock Street NW in 1936. Washington, DC, city directories indicated that he and Mary lived at 4511 Cathedral Avenue NW in 1938 and 1939. (See Ancestry.com "U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 for Gilbert S Underwood," Accessed 04/08/2014.) He dwelled at 3000 39th Street NW in Washington, DC, from at least 1940 (when the US Census was taken on 04/11/1940) until 1948, when he traveled to Europe.

Nearing the end of his life, Underwood moved to FL. It is known that his son, Gilbert, Jr., listed his place of residence as Hobe Island, FL, on the NC Marriage Register in 1952, so his presence may have been an incentive for Gilbert, Sr., to move south. (See Ancestry.com. Source Information Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015, accessed 03/30/2018.) He resided at 1838 NE 26th Avenue in at least 1955 and 1956. (See Fort Lauderdale, Florida, City Directory, 1955, p. 642 and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, City Directory, 1956, p. 868.) He was not listed in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, City Directory, 1959,suggesting that he may have moved out of the city or entered into a healthcare facility.

There is some confusion about his death date. One index stated it to have been 07/11/1960. (See Ancestry.com. Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015, accessed 03/29/2018.) Another entry listed it as 08/1961. (See Ancestry.com. Source Information Ancestry.com. Florida Death Index, 1877-1998 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004, accessed 03/29/2018.) He died in Broward County, FL, probably in the City of Fort Lauderdale.

Parents

His father was Frederick G. Underwood (born c. 09/1852 in NY-d. 05/07/1911 in Los Angeles, CA), his mother, Jennie Myers (born c. 04/1868 in NY-d. 1912). Frederick and Jennie had only one child, Gilbert. In 1900, Frederick operated a fertilizer manufacturing company in Oneida, NY. After his move to San Bernardino, Frederick worked as a carpenter, but died soon after moving to CA. Jennie lived with her son in 1912, the year after his death, at 1467 East 56th Street in Los Angeles. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1912, p. 1546.)

Spouse

He married Mary Smith Underwood (born c. 1897 in IL) in c. 1914. He divorced her before 05/1950. Mary remarried W.E. Reynolds, the former Commissioner of the US Government's Public Building Service until 1954. Reynolds would have been Gilbert Stanley Underwood's boss when he worked at the Federal Works Agency in 1940. (See "W.E. Reynolds Is Deat at 79; Led Federal Building Program," New York Times, 11/01/1966, p. 41.)

He wed Ann Masia (born c. 1912 in New York, NY) on 05/19/1950 in Williamsburg, VA. Her father was Maurice Masia, her mother, Sarah Domershick. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation Virginia Department of Health; Richmond, Virginia, accessed 03/29/2018.) Underwood knew John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and was involved in design work at the latter's Williamsburg Lodge (1939) in the early 1950s, and so marriage in this picturesque location would be understandable. (See Rodd L. Wheaton, National Park Service, "Gilbert Stanley Underwood 1890-1960," accessed 03/30/2018.)

Children

Gilbert S., Sr., and Mary Underwood had two children, a son, Gilbert S. Underwood, Jr., (born 05/09/1918 in Chattanooga, TN-d. 10/07/1994 in Bethesda, MD), and a daughter, Ann G. Underwood, (born 1926 in Los Angeles, CA).

Gilbert, Jr., traveled from Antwerp, Belgium, to New York, NY, aboard the Holland American Lines ocean liner, S.S. Westernland, between 07/08/1939-07/18/1939; he listed his parent's house at 4511 Cathedral Avenue NW as his permanent residence at this time. His World War II enlistment records indicated that he worked as an actor when he joined the military on 07/02/1941. He married (1952) and divorced Jean Darby Rainey (1973), both in the State of NC. Late in life, he lived at 5905 Cranston Road, Bethesda, MD.

Ann G. Underwood (born 1926) became an artist and attended the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, IL; she married a classmate named Anthony T. Kulish. His family lived in PA, where they moved and remained. They lived in Doylestown, PA, c. 2014.

Biographical Notes

Underwood joined the Harvard Lodge of the Masons on 11/16/1922. (See Information Ancestry.com. Source: Massachusetts, Mason Membership Cards, 1733-1990 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013, accessed 03/29/2018.)

Between 03/30/1928 and 04/04/1928, Underwood sailed aboard the S.S. Malolo between Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, and San Francsico, CA. (See Ancestry.com. Source Citation The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at San Francisco, California; NAI Number: 4498993; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85, accessed 03/29/2018.)

According to his World War II draft registration card, Underwood at age 52, stood 5-feet, 6 1/2-inches tall, weighed 165 pounds, had blue eyes, brown and gray hair, and a ruddy complexion. (See Ancestry.com, Source Citation The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the District of Columbia; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Box or Roll Number: 070, accessed 03/29/2018.)

He sailed alone aboard the S.S. America, from New York, NY on 07/14/1948 to Le Havre, France, for a three-month trip to Europe.

His SSN has been variously given as 568-03-1872 or 579-26-9449.



Associated Locations

  • Oneida, NY (Architect's Birth)
    Oneida, NY

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PCAD id: 269


NameDateCityState
16 House Tract Project, Los Angeles, CA1923Los AngelesCA
Desmonds Department Store, Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles, CA1928-1929Los AngelesCA
Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Polytechnic High School, Los Angeles, CALos AngelesCA
National Park Service, Yosemite National Park, Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite National Park, CA1925-1927Yosemite VillageCA
Sun Valley Lodge, Sun Valley, ID1936-1936Sun ValleyID
Union Pacific Railroad, Depot #3, Cozad, NE1925CozadNE
Union Pacific Railroad, Depot, East Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA1928Los AngelesCA
Union Pacific Railroad, Depot, Fairbury, NE1929FairburyNE
Union Pacific Railroad, Depot, Gering, NE1928GeringNE
Union Pacific Railroad, Depot, North Bend, NE1924North BendNE
Union Pacific Railroad, Depot, Omaha, NE1930-1931OmahaNE
United States Government, Department of Justice, Federal Courthouse, Office Building #3 and Post Office, Los Angeles, CA1937-1940Los AngelesCA
United States Government, Department of Justice, Federal Courts, Courthouse #2, Seattle, WA1939-1940SeattleWA
United States Government, Department of State Building, Foggy Bottom, Washington, DC1941WashingtonDC
United States Government, Department of the Interior, National Park Service (NPS), Bryce Canyon Lodge, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT1924-1925Bryce Canyon National Park, UTUT
United States Government, Department of the Interior, National Park Service (NPS), Grand Canyon National Park, Lodge at the North Rim, Main Lodge, Grand Canyon, AZ1927-1928Grand Canyon National ParkAZ
United States Government, Department of the Interior, National Park Service (NPS), Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Lake Lodge, Moran, WY1950-1954MoranWY
United States Government, Department of the Interior, National Park Service (NPS), Zion National Park, Lodge #1, Virgin, UT 1924-1925VirginUT
United States Government, Immigration Station and Appraisers Stores #2, San Francisco, CA1939-1944San FranciscoCA
United States Government, Postal Service (USPS), Post Office, Burbank, CA1937-1938BurbankCA
United States Government, Postal Service (USPS), Post Office, Rincon Annex, San Francisco, CA1939San FranciscoCA
United States Government, Postal Service (USPS), Post Office, Terminal Annex, Los Angeles, CA1939-1940Los AngelesCA
United States Government, Postal Service (USPS), Post Office, University Station, University District, Seattle, WA1936-1937SeattleWA
United States Government, Works Progress Administration (WPA), Timberline Lodge, Timberline Lodge, OR1936-1937Timberline LodgeOR
Williamsburg Lodge, Williamsburg, VAWilliamsburgVA
Breeze, Carla, American Art Deco Architecture and Regionalism, 30-31, 2003. "Illustrating the Perfection of Terra Cotta Ceramic Veneer", Architect and Engineer, 145: 1, 40, 1941-04. "Illustrating the Perfection of Terra Cotta Ceramic Veneer", Architect and Engineer, 145: 1, 41, 04/1941. "Kemiko Permanent Stains", Architectural Forum, 117: 20, 07/1962. Kaiser, Harvey H., Architectural Guidebook to the National Parks: California, Oregon, Washington, 115-118, 2002. Zaitlin, Joyce, Gilbert Stanley Underwood His Rustic, Art Deco and Federal Architecture, 29-40, 1989. "Chapter Five: Giant Fingers", Gilbert Stanley Underwood His Rustic, Art Deco and Federal Architecture, 82-100, 1989. Zaitlin, Joyce, Gilbert Stanley Underwood His Rustic, Art Deco and Federal Architecture, 26-27, 1989. Zaitlin, Joyce, "Ahwahnee--The 'Deep Grassy Valley'", Gilbert Stanley Underwood His Rustic, Art Deco and Federal Architecture, 52-81, 1989. Zaitlin, Joyce, Gilbert Stanley Underwood His Rustic, Art Deco and Federal Architecture, 45-50, 1989. Chase, John, "Rincon Center", Landscape Architecture, 79: 7, 64-66, 09/1989. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 246, 1994. Gebhard, David, Winter, Robert, "Desmonds Department Store Building, 1928-29", Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 192, 1994. Gebhard, David, Montgomery, Roger, Los Angeles An Architectural Guide, 281, 1994. "Many at Sun Valley Rodeo", New York Times, 74, 1937-08-15. McBrien, Judith Paine, "13 U.S. Post Office--Los Angeles Terminal Annex Building", Pocket Guide to Los Angeles Architecture, 25, 2009. Delahanty, Randolph, Preserving the West, 28-29, 1985. Timberline Lodge A Love Story, 1986.