Phelps, Henry Truman (1871–1944)

By: Christopher Long

Type: Biography

Published: May 1, 1995

Henry T. Phelps, architect, was born in Anaqua, Texas, on August 25, 1871, the son of Edwin McNamee and Mary Jane (Bickford) Phelps. By 1891, after attending secondary school, he began working as a draftsman in various architectural offices in San Antonio. During the Spanish-American War he served briefly in Troop I of the First Texas Volunteer Cavalry, and around 1902 he formed a partnership with San Antonio architect Solon L. McAdoo. The following year Phelps established his own practice. In 1909 he and D. R. Jacob opened a joint office as Phelps and Jacob, but they dissolved the partnership in 1910. Between 1910 and the early 1940s Phelps operated a successful independent practice. He designed several large commercial structures in San Antonio, including the J. M. Nix Professional Building (1929) and the Maverick Building, as well as number of historical revival-style residences in and around the city, such as the Kampmann house (1922) and the J. M. Nix house (1923). Among his other works were the MKT Depot (1909) in Denison, the Blanco County Courthouse (1916) in Johnson City, the Atascosa County Courthouse in Jourdanton (1912), and the remodeling of the Dimmit County Courthouse in Carrizo Springs (1925). With the exception of the Atascosa County Courthouse, Phelps's practice of courthouse architecture was in the Beaux-Arts Classic style. Phelps married Laura Clamp in San Antonio in 1905; the couple had two children. He was a member of the San Antonio Club and the International Club, a charter member of the Texas Society of Architects, and director of the San Antonio Municipal Airport in the 1930s. He died of a heart attack in San Antonio on December 4, 1944, and was buried at Mission Burial Park.

Chris Carson and William B. McDonald, eds., A Guide to San Antonio Architecture (San Antonio Chapter, American Institute of Architects, 1986). Files, Architectural Drawings Collection, Architecture and Planning Library, University of Texas at Austin. Jay C. Henry, Architecture in Texas, 1895–1945 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993). San Antonio Express, December 6, 1944.


  • Architecture
  • Architects

Time Periods:

  • Texas in the 1920s

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

Christopher Long, “Phelps, Henry Truman,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 29, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995