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Male, born 1869-05, died 1908

Associated with the firms network

Polk and Polk, Architects; Polk, W.W. and Sons, Architects

Professional History


Partner, Polk and Polk, Architects, San Francisco, CA. Around 1895, Daniel Polk left the firm of Polk and Polk.

Co-founder, School of Fine Arts, Los Angeles, CA, 1895. The Herald of Los Angeles said of Daniel Polk's new school of fine arts in 1895: “Mr. Jules Mersfelder and Daniel Polk, artists who are well known in New York and San Francisco, will open their new school of fine arts the coming Monday, Studio, Wilson block.” (See “City News in Brief,” The Herald (Los Angeles), 07/14/1895, p. 11.) A 07/16/1895 classified advertisement in the Los Angeles Times read: "New School of Fine Arts, Third floor, Wilson Block. Art students' day and night school. Jules Mersfelder, Daniel Polk." (See Classified ad, Los Angeles Times, 07/16/1895, p. 4.)

Architect, McKim, Mead and White, Architects, New York, NY, 1902.

Architect, New York, NY, 1903-1905.



Coursework, Washington University, Saint Louis, MO.



Daniel Polk lived with his family at the Hotel Hunt in Saint Louis, MO, an establishment managed by his mother. The family resided at this hotel, located on the northeast corner of Chestnut Street and 9th Street in Saint Louis, MO, during 1880 and 1881. (See, Source Citation Year: 1880; Census Place: Saint Louis, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 717; Page: 149B; Enumeration District: 006, accessed 03/30/2021.)

In 1892, voter records indicated that Daniel lived with his brother Willis J. Polk at 1015 Vallejo Street in San Francisco, CA. Their father Willis W. Polk lived doors away at 1005 Vallejo.

He moved to Los Angeles, CA, in 1895, where he worked on the interiors of the Press Club there and attempted to open a fine arts school. Both the Press Club interior and the unsuccessful art school were located in the Wilson Building. The Herald newspaper of Los Angeles noted in 07/1895: “Mr. Jules Mersfelder and Daniel Polk, artists who are well known in New York and San Francisco, will open their new school of fine arts the coming Monday, Studio, Wilson block.” (See “City News in Brief,” The Herald [Los Angeles], 07/14/1895, p. 11.)

Daniel relocated from San Francisco to New York, NY, by 1896 or so. At this time, he became part of a banjo-playing duo, Polk and Collins, "Banjo Kings of America," that appeared on the Keith Vaudeville circuit in the Eastern US. Prior to joining the vaudeville circuit, Daniel had entertained friends with his banjo skills at parties and other high society functions. He was able to translate classical musical into banjo instrumentation.

After his marriage in 12/1897, he and his wife Alice resided in New York City primarily between this time and his death.

The US Census of 1900, found Daniel and Alice Polk living at 332 East 14th Street in the Borough of Manhattan. He was listed as a musician in the census, and she worked as a dressmaker. (See, Source Citation Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0322; FHL microfilm: 1241096, accessed 03/30/2021.) The 1905 New York State Census, however, listed him as an architect. (See, Source Citation New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 18 E.D. 14; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 8, accessed 03/30/2021.)

Probate paperwork for his father of 1907 indicated that Daniel Polk lived in Kansas City, MO. (See, Source Citation Probate Files, 1880-1961; Author: California. Superior Court (Alameda County); Probate Place: Alameda, California, accessed 04/01/2021.)


His father was the architect, Willis Webb Polk, and brother was the well-known San Francisco architect, Willis J. Polk (1867-1924).

Daniel's mother was the hotel innkeeper and suffrage activist, Endemial Josephine Drane (born 1833 in KY-d. 07/02/1906 in Berkeley, CA)


He wed Alice Grim (born c. 05/1875 in PA) on 12/22/1897 in Brooklyn, NY. (See, Source Information New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014, accessed 03/30/2021.)

In 1912, the widowed Alice Polk worked as a dressmaker in New York, NY, and lived at 57 West 111th Street. (See New York, New York, City Directory, 1912, p. 1236.)

By 1931, Alice had employment as an actress in Hollywood. The Beverly Hills, California, City Directory, 1931, (p. 185) indicated that her daughter Endymial Polk was also an actress.


He and Alice had two daughters, Endemial E. Polk, (born c. 1901). and Alice Polk Kegley (born c. 1906-d. 1960) (See, Source Citation The Episcopal Diocese of New York; New York, New York, accessed 03/30/2021.) Endemial was named for Daniel's mother Endemial J. Polk.

Endemial became the salutarian of the Hempsted, Long Island, High School Class of 1920, while her sister Alice, was the valedictorian. (See "Hempstead High School," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 06/25/1920, p. 10.)

Biographical Notes

San Francisco voter records indicated that Daniel Polk was Caucasian with a dark complexion, stood 5-feet, 8-inches tall, and had brown eyes and black hair. (See, Source Citation California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Registers, 1866-1898; Collection Number: 4-2A; CSL Roll Number: 90; FHL Roll Number: 977609, accessed 03/30/2021.)

In 1894, Polk was rumored to have been engaged to Rose Splivalo. The San Franicsco Call and the San Francisco Examiner later denied the report, the latter saying: "The reported engagement of Dan Polk, the architect, and Miss Splivalo, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A.D. Splivalo, is authoritatively denied." (See "Entertainments This Week," San Francisco Examiner, 08/05/1894, p. 17 and "Betrothals," San Francisco Call, 08/06/1894, p. 7.)

Daniel Polk gained fame as a teenage virtuoso on the banjo. An article in Little Rock's Arkansas Daily Gazette said of him in 1884: “Daniel Polk, the champion boy banjo picker of the United States, only 15 years old, is to travel with the ‘Little Twins,’ who will visit Little Rock soon. They are to appear in St. Louis next week.” (See “Theatrical Talk,” Daily Arkansas Gazette, 10/21/1884, p. 4.) Polk contonued to perform with the banjo during early-to-mid-1890s. He entertained at various Bay Area social events and some society charity events. (See, for example, "Helping Orphans: Charity Concert at the Goad Mansion," San Francisco Call, 03/29/1894, p. 7.)

Associated Locations

PCAD id: 3760