Koeppe, Earl Emmett (1907–1993)

By: Andrew Klooster

Type: Biography

Published: April 19, 2021

Updated: April 19, 2021


Earl Emmett Koeppe, architect, son of Herman Paul Koeppe and Ernestine Louise (Pfeiffer) Koeppe, was born in Fort Worth on January 1, 1907. Earl Koeppe was the fourth of five children with two elder sisters, Ruth and Eunice, an elder brother, Julian, and a younger sister, Elva. His father, Herman Koeppe, also worked as an architect and throughout Fort Worth designed several buildings, including the Fair Building, the Fort Worth Club, and the Medical Arts Building. Herman likely inspired his son Earl to pursue a career in the field.

Earl Koeppe began this career by studying architecture at the Rice Institute Architectural School where he received a bachelor of arts degree in 1929 and a bachelor of science degree in architecture in 1930. After completing his degrees, Koeppe returned to Fort Worth to work as draftsman and delineator for the prominent local architect Wyatt C. Hedrick from 1929 to 1935. He assisted Hedrick on many significant projects such as the decorative elements for Hedrick’s Art Deco design of the thirteen-story terminal and eight-story warehouse for the Texas and Pacific Railway station in Fort Worth. He then worked as a draftsman for the Supervisor Architects Office of the U. S. Treasury Department from 1935 to 1937. Then he briefly worked at the Marr & Holman architectural firm in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1937 before returning to Fort Worth to work as chief designer for Wyatt C. Hedrick from 1938 to 1957.

Koeppe left Hedrick’s firm in 1957 to establish his own architectural firm called Earl E. Koeppe & Associates. A list of Koeppe’s most notable works from this period includes Waverly Park Elementary School in 1958, First Baptist Church of Weatherford in 1958, the Handley Methodist Church of Fort Worth in 1960, the First Methodist Church of Hurst in 1961, the City National Bank of Fort Worth in 1963, Tarleton State College Women’s Dorm in 1967, Western Hills Elementary School in 1968, and the John Peter Smith Hospital in 1969. Shortly after establishing his own firm, Koeppe was elected as the president of the Fort Worth Chapter of the American Architectural Institute (AIA) in 1960. Although he designed a variety of buildings for public and private use, he gave special attention to a growing national demand for church construction as part of his tenure as AIA president. Koeppe inherited and expanded upon an intellectual lineage of influential Fort Wort architects that stretched back to Wyatt C. Hedrick’s firm’s predecessor, Sanguinet and Staats.

Koeppe married Esther Louise Erwin of Cameron, West Virginia, on August 17, 1935. The couple had three children—sons Earl Paul and David Eugene and daughter Mary Claire. His sons followed their father into architecture and worked at the family architectural firm throughout their careers. His wife, Esther, died on April 17, 1989. Earl Emmett Koeppe died at the age of eighty-six in a Fort Worth hospital only a few years later on March 17, 1993, and was buried next to his wife at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Fort Worth.

American Architects Directory, 1962; 1970. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, October 10, 1957; March 24, 1960; October 15, 1963; September 8, 1968; August 25, 1985; April 18, 1989; March 19, 1993; June 4, 2010. Carol Roark, ed., Fort Worth & Tarrant County: An Historical Guide (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 2003).

Categories:

  • Architecture
  • Architects

Time Periods:

  • Great Depression
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II

Places:

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

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

Andrew Klooster, “Koeppe, Earl Emmett,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 24, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/koeppe-earl-emmett.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 19, 2021
April 19, 2021

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