Architect Lafayette “Fay” Robinson Spangler was born in the small community of Traver, California on May 18, 1885 but grew up in Santa Clara, California. His formal architectural education is unknown, however research indicates that by 1908, at the age of 23 he was living in Ellensburg. While he resided there for just three short years, Spangler was involved in several high profiles buildings in the community.
In 1908 he submitted a proposal for the Ellensburg Carnegie Library, but was not awarded the commission. However, the local newspaper reported that the review board praised the young architect’s plan and abilities. He was awarded the contact to design the new YMCA Building, a grand Flemish Revival style building completed in 1911. Spangler also served as the on-site supervising architect for the New Farmer’s Bank (1912) designed by the Seattle architectural firm of Gould & Champney.
For reasons unknown, Spangler moved to San Francisco in 1912 and acquired his architectural license to practice in the state the same year. This was the start of several wondering years of unrest; moving from community to community and forming various partnerships. A partnership with architect H.B. Douglas in King City lasted only three months in 1919. In 1922 Spangler reportedly opened up an independent practice in Santa Maria, but not before spending some time in Eureka (working for architect Edmund J. Burke) and in San Francisco (working for architect G. Albert Lansburgh). By 1922 he had set up his own independent practice in Santa Ana, but had moved onto Anaheim by 1925 where he lived until the early 1940s.
Known California projects include the 7th Street Bridge in Modesto (1917); the City Hall and schoolhouse (c.1919) in Greenfield; the Lee Dudgeon House and a schoolhouse (c.1919) in King City; an elementary School for the Harper-Fairview Union School District (1923) outside of Costa Mesa; the Ebell Women’s Club (1924) in Fullerton; the Richard & Esse Emison House (1926) in Santa Ana; The Dr. R.S. Horton Building (1928) in Santa Ana; the Walter Service Station (1928) in Dana Point; the Dana Point Blue Lantern Fountain Lunch Building (1929); a School in Capistrano Beach (1929); the Laguna Beach Hotel (1927); the L.S. Frasier House (1938) in San Clemente; the Olive Civic Center (1939) in Orange; and the Christian Missionary & Alliance Church (1950) in Fresno.
Spangler’s last known residence was in Redding, California where he passed away in September of 1970 at the age of 85.