Patterson, Joseph Julian (1894–1976)

By: Christopher Long

Type: Biography

Published: May 1, 1995

Updated: April 25, 2019

Joseph Julian Patterson, architect, was born in Danville, Illinois, in 1894. After graduating from the University of Illinois he studied architecture at Oklahoma A&M College in Stillwater. He served as an officer in the United States Army Signal Corps during World War I, and after the war he took up a post as associate professor of architecture at Oklahoma A&M. In 1925 Patterson accepted an offer to work as a designer in the office of Wyatt C. Hedrick in Fort Worth. In the early 1930s he left Hedrick and established a short-lived partnership with James Patterson, and later, in 1939, with Edward L. Wilson, founded the firm of Wilson and Patterson. A skilled draftsman and interpreter of historical revival styles, Patterson earned a reputation as one the leading authorities in Gothic and other traditional styles of ecclesiastical architecture. Among his most important ecclesiastical commissions were St. John's Episcopal Church, Fort Worth; Second Church of Christ Scientist, Dallas; College (now University) Church of Christ, Abilene; Johnson Street Church of Christ, San Angelo; and First Baptist Church, Odessa. During the late 1920s and 1930s he also designed numerous residential projects in Westover Hills and other sections of Fort Worth in the then-popular historical revival styles. In the mid-1930s he began to experiment with the Moderne or Art Deco idiom, and with James Teague designed the remarkable Moderne house of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Kennady at Eagle Mountain Lake. He followed this work with another notable Moderne design, the Fifth Avenue Medical Clinic, completed in 1938. Patterson continued to practice until 1973. In his later years he adopted a simple, stripped-down modernist expression, very different from his earlier work. Among his many other buildings were the Fort Worth Children's Museum (now the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History), Wycliff and Ridglea West elementary schools, various projects for the University of Texas at Arlington, North Texas State University, Abilene Christian College, and San Angelo College, as well as numerous houses, banks, churches, and office buildings. He also collaborated on the Fritz Lanham Federal Office Building (1966) in Fort Worth, and the Tarrant County Convention Center (1969). He was a charter member of the Fort Worth chapter of the American Institute of Architects and served as its president in 1951. In 1962 he was made a fellow of the American Institute of Architects. He was also a member of the Texas Society of Architects and served briefly as its director. He died in Fort Worth in 1976.

Judith Singer Cohen, Cowtown Moderne: Art Deco Architecture of Fort Worth, Texas (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1988).

  • Architecture
  • Architects
  • 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, “Patterson, Joseph Julian,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 10, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995
April 25, 2019

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