Clarkson, Wiley G. (1885–1952)

By: Christopher Long

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1994

Updated: August 4, 2021


Wiley G. Clarkson, architect, was born in Corsicana, Texas, on November 28, 1885. After attending the University of Texas for two years, he studied engineering at the Chicago Armour Institute of Technology and architecture at the Art Institute of Chicago. He returned to Corsicana in 1908 and operated a practice there until 1912, when he moved to Fort Worth. From 1919 to 1921 he collaborated with A. W. Gaines. After Gaines's death in 1921 he resumed his solo practice.

During the 1920s and early 1930s Clarkson designed a wide variety of works in Fort Worth, including the Texas Christian University Library (1925–27), Trinity Episcopal Church (1925–27), Sanger Brothers Department Store (1925–27), the YMCA Building (1925–27), the Woolworth Building (1925–27), and the Methodist Harris Hospital (1930), as well as numerous residences in the Ryan Place and River Crest sections of the city. Clarkson's early buildings were characterized by historical revival styles: Neoclassicism, Gothic, and Italianate. During the late 1920s, however, he began to experiment with the new Moderne or Art Deco idiom, and over the course of the next decade he produced many of the city's best examples of that style, among them the Sinclair Building (1929), the Masonic Temple (1930), the Collins Art Company (1932), the United States Courthouse (1933, with associate architect Paul Philippe Cret), the Municipal Airport Administration Building (1936), North Side Senior High School (1937), W. C. Stripling Department Store (1937), Tarrant County Building and Loan Association (1938), and the City-County Hospital (1938–39). During World War II Clarkson collaborated with the architectural firms of Joseph Roman Pelich, Preston M. Geren, Sr., and Joe Rady on projects for the United States Housing Authority and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, including Liberator Village, Fort Worth; McCloskey Army Hospital, Temple; and Harmon Army Hospital, Longview. He also collaborated with Herbert Bayer, Gordon Chadwick, and A. George King on the design for the Fort Worth Art Center (1953), now the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

Clarkson was a charter member of the Texas Society of Architects and was president in 1942–43. He was also a founding member of the Fort Worth chapter of the American Institute of Architects and served as its president in 1948. He died in Fort Worth on May 5, 1952.

Judith Singer Cohen, Cowtown Moderne: Art Deco Architecture of Fort Worth, Texas (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1988). Judith Singer Cohen, "Wiley G. Clarkson," Texas Architect, November-December 1989.

Categories:

  • Architecture
  • Architects

Time Periods:

  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s

Places:

  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Fort Worth
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Christopher Long, “Clarkson, Wiley G.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 28, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/clarkson-wiley-g.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994
August 4, 2021

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects:

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