Cocke, Bartlett (1901–1992)

By: Stephanie Hetos Cocke

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1994

Updated: August 5, 2020

Bartlett Cocke, architect, son of Emmett and Bessie Cocke, was born in Floresville, Texas, on October 30, 1901. He grew up in San Antonio, graduated from the University of Texas in 1922, and attended the School of Architecture at MIT. In 1924 he returned to San Antonio and began his apprenticeship as a draftsman with the Kelwood Company. Three years later he opened his own firm in partnership with Marvin Eickenroht, and was an architect for San Pedro Playhouse in 1929. In 1931 he began a sole proprietorship under his name.

During the Great Depression, as deputy district officer of West Texas of the Historic American Buildings Survey, Cocke produced dozens of detailed measured drawings of pre-Civil War Texas structures for HABS. He subsequently designed houses in San Antonio and surrounding towns, deriving inspiration from vernacular Texas ranchhouses and Greek Revival structures that he had encountered while working for HABS. These attracted widespread attention and were often featured in national architectural periodicals. In 1938, he won his first major public commission, to design a distinctive, efficient, downtown department store for Joske's of Texas on Alamo Plaza in San Antonio. His practice grew to include San Antonio public schools, industrial facilities and warehouses, office buildings, shopping centers, malls, and college and university campuses. He worked as architect for St. Mary's Hall, the Witte Museum, the Frost Bank building, and Baptist Memorial Hospital, and he was an architect for North Star Mall. Over the years he worked with various architects, including Anton F. Heisler, Jr., and John Kell, Sr. Joint ventures with architect O'Neil Ford produced the master plan and all buildings for the campus of Trinity University (1950–81) and buildings for the University of Texas at San Antonio Health Science Center during the 1970s.

Cocke's firm developed a reputation as specialists in construction documents and project management. He was one of the first Texas architects to develop a plan for profit sharing for his employees. He became a member of the American Institute of Architects in 1935 and was elected to fellowship in the institute in 1961. He served as president of the San Antonio chapter of the AIA in 1940 and president of the Texas Society of Architects in 1944–45. He was appointed director of the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners in 1947 and reappointed in 1948 for a term of six years. Upon his retirement from practice in 1981, his firm was reorganized as Chumney, Jones and Kell. He received the Llewelyn W. Pitts Award, the society's highest honor, in 1981. In the 1980s Cocke became the first alumnus to be honored with a professorship in architecture in his name at the University of Texas at Austin.

Cocke married Mildred Hackett in 1925. They had two children. He died in San Antonio on March 17, 1992, and was buried there in Mission Burial Park South.

Alcalde (magazine of the Ex-Students' Association of the University of Texas), February 1948. San Antonio Express News, March 19, 20, 1992. Texas Architect, November-December 1989.

  • Architecture
  • Architects

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

Stephanie Hetos Cocke, “Cocke, Bartlett,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 09, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994
August 5, 2020