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Male, born 1859-01-07, died 1930-08-26

Associated with the firm network

Allen, Frank S., Architect

Professional History


A "Frank S. Allen" was listed in the Chicago, Illinois, City Directory, 1878, (p. 122), as working at the Chicago Scales Company at 149 South Jefferson Street. He was listed as residing at 232 West Adams Street. It is not at all clear if this was the same Frank S. Allen.

Principal, Frank S. Allen, Architect,Streator, IL, c.1884-1886.

Principal, Frank S. Allen, Architect, Joliet, IL, c. 1887-1904. While working in the Midwest, Allen designed a number of large-scale residences for well-to-do clients, as well as public buildings, including a number of schools. He came to Joliet after he won the commission for the Christ Episcopal Church, c. 1886. In addition to Christ Episcopal, he has been credited with designing the following buildings in Joliet: the Illinois Steel Worker's Club, Barber Building, James Ferriss House, C.M. Fish House, R.E. Barber House, Haley House, Marcus Krakar House, Broadway School, Joliet Township Central High School, and the Sheridan School. In Dallas, TX, he obtained the commission for the Daley House. He designed schools in Port Washington High School, Port Washington, WI, Sioux City High School, Sioux City, IA, and one in MI. (See City of Joliet Hall of, "F.S. Allen," accessed 01/10/2019.)

Principal, Frank S. Allen Architect, Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA, 1904-1922. F.S. Allen became Registered Architect #348 in the State of California. In California, Allen became well-known for his school designs.

In 1910, Allen was arrested for having an Altadena boy in his Los Angeles hotel room. The Los Angeles Times described the situation: "The boy, in whose company he was when arrested, is the same who was reported missing some time ago. No trace of him could be found by the police until he walked into his home in Altadena with the explanation that he had been in San Francisco with Allen. The matter was reported to the District Attorney's office, and an investigation was begun which resulted in last night's arrests. Allen is one of the most prominent architects in Southern California. He has been reckoned as a leader in his profession in this endo the State, and has occupied a high position in society. His family is of the most exclusive in the fashionable circles of Pasadena and Altadena." (See "Architect Is Under Arrest," Los Angeles Times, 09/01/1910, pt. II, p. 3.) By early the next year, the felony charge was dropped. The Los Angeles Times reported in its list of court decisions on 02/22/1911: "The felony charge against F.S. Allen, a Pasadena architect, was ordered dismissed on motion of Deputy District Attorney Harry Alexander, on the ground it would be impossible to secure sufficient evidence to convict Allen." (See "Wants Probation," Los Angeles Times, 02/22/1911, pt. II, p. 2.) This charge would have ruined Allen's career, and explains why he left the profession soon after his arrest.

Allen apparently opened a music store in Pasadena, CA, in 1922. (See City of Joliet Hall of, "F.S. Allen," accessed 01/10/2019.)



One source indicated, "He studied architecure in Chicago, and then completed his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris." (See P. Seth Magosky, Historic Impressions: The History and Architecture of Joliet Homes, [Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing, n.p.) Allen did obtain a UW Passport in 1891, but it is not known if he attended the École at this time. If so, he did it while he had a wife and two children back in Joliet.



Frank Shaver Allen was born in Galesburg, IL, where, according to the US Censuses of 1870 and 1880, he lived with his family at 45 Mulberry Street. In 1880, he was 21 years old at the time, and worked as a draftsman. (See, Source Citation Year: 1870; Census Place: Galesburg, Knox, Illinois; Roll: M593_240; Page: 94A; Family History Library Film: 545739, acccessed 01/10/2019 and, Source Citation Year: 1880; Census Place: Galesburg, Knox, Illinois; Roll: 220; Page: 103A; Enumeration District: 133, acccessed 01/10/2019.) It appears that the Allen House had been renumbered to 759 Mulberry by 1900.

Allen moved from Galesburg and sought employment in Chicago, IL. He next lived in Streator, IL, between about 1884 and 1887.

In 1887, Allen erected a Richardsonian Romanesque house at 608 Morgan Street in Joliet, IL. In 2017, a web site named the Allen House one of the top ten haunted houses in the State of IL. He continued to live on Morgan Street in 1900 (the US Census of that year recorded the number as 508 Morgan) with his wife, three children--Fred, Idamay and Frank--and two servants, Frances Donek (born c. 01/1881 in German7), and John Carel (born 01/1874 in Russia). (See, Source Citation Year: 1900; Census Place: Joliet Ward 5, Will, Illinois; Page: 9; Enumeration District: 0128; FHL microfilm: 1240353, acccessed 01/10/2019.)

Allen relocated his family to the Los Angeles, CA, area in 1904.

On 05/07/1910, he and his large family had a house on Santa Rosa Avenue in Pasadena, CA. Five children of both of his marriages lived with Frank Allen in that year, as did a gardner, Rudolph G. Gunther (born c. 1880 in WI). (See, Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: Pasadena, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T624_86; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0319; FHL microfilm: 1374099, acccessed 01/10/2019.) Allen was also listed by census takers as living at 300 South Olive Street in Los Angeles on 04/30/1910. (See,Source Citation Year: 1910; Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 75, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T624_84; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 0098; FHL microfilm: 1374097, acccessed 01/10/2019.)

In 1913, Allen resided at 146 North Rampart Street in Los Angeles, CA.

Allen indicated to US Census takers in 1920 that he was now a merchant in the tally machine business. He dwelled with his wife and two daughters at 2669 San Marino Street in Los Angeles's MacArthur Park neighborhood. (See, Source Citation Year: 1920; Census Place: Los Angeles Assembly District 63, Los Angeles, California; Roll: T625_107; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 183, acccessed 01/10/2019.)

Divorced from his second wife, he resided in the Silver Lake neighborhood at 3813 Effie Street in Los Angeles, as noted in the 1930 US Census. The census indicated that he owned $23,000 worth of real estate in 1930. Allen had a boarder, Donald C. Jacobson, (born c. 1898 of American parents in Egypt), who worked as a salesman of haberdashery. (See,Source Citation Year: 1930; Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Page: 36A; Enumeration District: 0013; FHL microfilm: 2339867, acccessed 01/10/2019.)

He died in Los Angeles County, CA, and was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, CA.


His parents were Sheldon W. Allen (born 09/1808 in Oneida County, NY-d. 01/18/1893 in Galesburg, IL) and Nancy A. Shaver (born 06/24/1827 in OH-d. 04/25/1901 in Galesburg, IL). They wed on 01/19/1858 in Knox County, IL. (See, Source Information Illinois, County Marriage Records, 1800-1940 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016, acccessed 01/10/2019.) Sheldon worked as a butcher, who, by 1870, had amassed significant assets. As per the US Census of that year, he controlled $55,000 worth of real estate and had a personal estate of $10,000. According to the 1880 US Census, Sheldon Allen was retired, although Nancy's occupation was still listed as "housekeeping."

Sheldon and Nancy had seven children, three of whom survived in 1900. The architect's siblings by Nancy included Lydia K. Allen Stuckey (born c. 1862 in IL), Frederick Allen (born c. 1863 in IL), Hannah Allen (born 01/26/1865 in Galesburg, IL-d. 08/01/1866 in Galesburg, IL), and Ida K. Allen (born c. 1869 in IL).

Sheldon Allen married prior to Nancy. He also had a number of children with his first wife, Fidelia, (born c. 1813 in NY), including Albert Herman Allen (born c. 1841 in IL), Henry Alonzo Allen (born c. 1843 in IL), Norman Taylor Allen (born c. 1844 in IL), Chester Allen (born c. 1846 in IL), Mary Allen (born c. c. 1850 in IL), and John S. Allen (born c. 1851 in IL), (See, Source Citation Year: 1850; Census Place: Galesburg, Knox, Illinois; Roll: M432_113; Page: 346A; Image: 278, acccessed 01/10/2019.)


Allen married twice. His first wife was Mary E. Hendrie, who died in 1895 in childbirth. He married her on 04/22/1885 in Chicago, IL. (See, Source Information Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011, accessed 01/10/2019.)

His second wife was Isabella McDougall, (born 07/26/1876 in IL-d. 05/05/1941 in Los Angeles, CA), whom he married on 10/18/1898 in Will County, IL. (See, Source Information Illinois, Marriage Index, 1860-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015, acccessed 01/10/2019.) Allen's second marriage ended in divorce c. 1922.


With his first wife, he had at least two children, Fred H. Allen (born 09/1886 in IL), and Ida May Allen (born 11/11/1888 in IL-d. 08/1978 in Los Angeles, CA).

Isabella had Frank McDougall Allen (born 02/18/1900 in IL-d. 08/23/1969 in CA), Florence J. Allen (born c. 1902 in IL), and Nancy A. Allen (born c. 1904 in IL).

Biographical Notes

A US Passport application of 09/23/1891 indicated that Allen stood 5-feet, 11-inches tall, and descirbed him having brown eyes, brown hair, a high forehead, straight nose, small mouth, dimpled chin, dark complexion and oval face. He proposed to be gone from the US for up to one year, presumably in Europe on a architectural grand tour. (See, Source Citation National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 380; Volume #: Roll 380 - 01 Sep 1891-30 Sep 1891, acccessed 01/10/2019.)

Allen had a strong interest in Egyptology. He also was a founder of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA, and served as master of ceremonies for chariot races and polo matches held during Tournament of Roses festivities on 01/01/1906. (See "Los Angeles County News,"Los Angeles Times, 12/22/1905. pt. II, p. 9.)

The architect closed his practice in 1922, and traveled in Europe during that year, visiting Germany among other countries.

He left Los Angeles on 03/24/1923 and arrived in Honolulu, HI, on 03/31/1923 aboard the S.S. City of Los Angeles. He was 63 at this time. He arrived back in San Francisco, CA, aboard the S.S. Maui from Honolulu on 04/26/1923. (See, Source Citation National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Honolulu, Hawaii, compiled 02/13/1900 - 12/30/1953; National Archives Microfilm Publication: A3422; Roll: 072; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 - 2004; Record Group Number: RG 85, acccessed 01/10/2019.)

After his career was damaged in a scandal, Allen became a silent partner in Oviatt's men's clothing store in Downtown Los Angeles.

Associated Locations

  • Galesburg, IL (Architect's Birth)
    Galesburg, IL 61401

  • Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA (Architect's Death)
    3813 Effie Street
    Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA 90026-1009

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PCAD id: 794

"Obituary", American Art Annual, 406, 1930. "Allen, Frank Obituary", Architect & Engineer, 111, 10/1930. "San Jose High School article 4/1907", Architect & Engineer of California, 89, 4/1907. "San Jose State Normal School Plans Submitted", Architect and Engineer of California, 75, 01/1907. "San Pedro High School", Architect and Engineer of California, 35, 09/1905. "Some Practical School House Designs by Los Angeles Architect", Architect and Engineer of California, 66-69, 12/1909. Allen, Frank S. , "Some Practical School House Designs by Los Angeles Architect", Architect and Engineer of California, 66-71, 12/1909. Allen, Frank S. , "Some Practical School House Designs by Los Angeles Architect", Architect and Engineer of California, 66-71, 12/1909. "The Mission Type School House", Architect and Engineer of California, 34-43, 09/1908. "Heating Contract for San Diego High School", Architect and Engineer of California, 83, 10/1907. "The Mission Type School House", Architect and Engineer of California, 34-43, 09/1908. "Allen Prepares Plans for San Diego Board of Education", Architect and Engineer of California, 75-76, 12/1907. "Plans for Industrial School, San Bernardino", Architect and Engineer of California, 77, 08/1908. "California State Normal School, San Jose 1907", Architect and Engineer of California, 75, 01/1907. "The Mission Type School House", Architect and Engineer of California, 34-43, 09/1908. "The Mission Type School House", Architect and Engineer of California, 34-43, 09/1908. "San Pedro High School", Arrowhead, 11, 09/1910. Withey, Henry F., Withey, Elsie Rathburn, "Allen, Frank Shaver", Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased), 17, 1970. Smythe, William Ellsworth, History of San Diego, 1542-1908, 575-576, 1907. Ludwig, Ella A., History of the Harbor District of Los Angeles, Dating from Its Earliest History, 353-354, 1927. "San Diego High School, Russ Auditorium", Journal of San Diego History, 35: 4, 173, Summer 1989. "San Pedro High School article", Los Angeles Times, 1, 08/11/1907. "San Diego High School, Solar Energy System", Los Angeles Times, 5, 01/17/1982. "Architect Is under Arrest", Los Angeles Times, 3, 1910-09-01. "Allen, Frank Shaver, Obituary", Los Angeles Times, 18, 8/27/1930. "Plans for Covina High School", Los Angeles Times, 8, 12/29/1908. Starr, Raymond G., San Diego, A Pictorial History, 68, 138, 1986. Houston, John M. , San Pedro City Dream, 128, 135, 136, 170, 179, 186, 1900-1909. "Boat Building Offered at San Pedro High School", San Pedro Pilot, 1, 01/15/1913. "San Pedro High School Contracts Awarded", San Pedro Pilot, 1, 02/28/1912. "San Pedro High School Alterations", San Pedro Pilot, 3, 11/01/1911. Silka, Henry P , San Pedro: A Pictorial History, 50, 84, 86, 1984. Wesson, Ruth, "San Pedro High School", Shoreline, 51-53, 06/1989. "Allen, Frank S., Obituary", Southwest Builder & Contractor, 35, col. 2, 8/29/1930. "Covina High School", Southwest Builder and Contractor, 40 , 05/08/1925. "Covina High School Additions and Alterations", Southwest Builder and Contractor, 49, col 3, 02/29/1924. "San Diego High School Auditorium Plans", Southwest Builder and Contractor, 55, col 1, 02/22/1924. "State Normal School San Jose, California, W.D. Coates, Jr., Architect, Sacramento", Western Architect, 17: 1, 4, 9 , 1/1911.