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Watson, Arthur Osborn (1864–1935)

Roxanne Williamson Biography Entry

Arthur O. Watson, architect, was born near Brenham in Washington County in 1864. He attended Texas A&M and then settled in Austin, where he practiced architecture beginning in 1887 as a partner of Jacob Larmour. Larmour designed a number of Texas buildings, including Main Hall at Texas A&M (1871), the Main building at Baylor University (1886), and the French Second Empire-style courthouse in Travis County. Larmour and Watson together designed the Comanche County courthouse (1890) and a similar courthouse in Milam County (1890), which has had its tower and iron cornice removed. In 1892 Watson established an independent practice and office in Austin. Among his buildings were the Richardsonian Romanesque red sandstone courthouse in Cuero for DeWitt County (1894–96) and the First Congregational Church of Austin (1898). The church was an imaginative stout masonry building with a large center hall spanned by an iron trussed roof. Its style was quite unusual at that time. The gentle Gothic-revival All Saints (Episcopal) chapel in Austin was also designed by Watson. Watson was active in the First Congregational church, the Boy Scouts, and later was a member of the congregation of St. David's Episcopal Church. He and his wife Minnie (Pope) Watson had one son. The architect's grandson, Arthur Pope Watson, Jr., became a well-known interior designer in Austin. Watson died after a long illness in 1935.

Austin History Center Files. Roxanne Williamson, Austin, Texas: An American Architectural History (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1973).


  • Architecture
  • Architects

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

Roxanne Williamson, “Watson, Arthur Osborn,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed April 17, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995