Seattle Architect Don Merrell Clippinger was born in Lima, Ohio on June 28, 1890 and grew up in Sacramento, California. His formal training is unknown but records indicate that he worked as a draftsman for noted California architect Rudolph A. Herold in Sacramento. However by 1918, he worked as an architectural draftsman in the Department of Engineering / Bureau of Architecture for the State of California. For reasons unknown around 1920, Clippinger and his family (wife Marie, son Don Jr.) had moved to Washington state. He continued to work as a draftsman and took a job with Sherwood Ford, rising to the level of associate. While never elevated to the level of partner, Clippinger played a key role in many of Sherwood Ford’s projects; serving as his lead draftsman for numerous years. In fact an article in The Architect & Engineer Mag. (April 1931), posted a correction that their omission of Clippingers’ name for the design of the Washington Athletic Club was a “regrettable oversight.”
In 1933, three years after the Washington Athletic Club was completed, Clippinger formed a partnership with Emory Glenn Morgan. The partnership was short-lived and by 1935, he worked as an architect for the Standard Unit Sales Company. Census records indicate that in 1940 that he and his wife had moved temporarily to Banning, California, but he worked for the Puget Sound Shipyard and was back in Bremerton by 1942. By 1946 he worked for Tacoma architect A.G. Lumm. In June of 1946 he formed a new partnership with engineer Maurice Hoard in Seattle; operating under the name Associated Architects & Engineers Inc. However that partnership was short-lived. According to his obituary, Clippinger was working for the architectural firm of NBBJ at the time of his death. He passed away in Seattle at the age of 61 on May 29, 1952.
By Michel Houser, State Architectural Historian - January 2018.