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Ferdinand W. Bohne

1871 - 1955

Architect Ferdinand William Bohne was born on January 21, 1871 in Louisville, Kentucky, to Ernest C. and Amelia Bohne.  A German immigrant, Ernest was a prominent banker and civic figure in Louisville.  The younger Bohne attended an elite university preparatory college; the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.  His formal architectural training, if any, beyond that is unknown.  Reports indicate that he returned to Louisville in 1892 and by the next year he formed a short-lived architectural partnership with F.W. Mowbray.  Then in 1894, Bohne joined the architectural firm of Drach & Thomas and became a partner by the next year.  The name of the firm was then changed to Drach, Thomas & Bohne; then later to Thomas & Bohne when Max Drach left the firm.

Advertisement - The Owenboro Messenger; March 20, 1896The firm’s reputation rose quickly and by 1985 they were cited as “among the leading architects of the city.”  Projects include the Oddfellows building; an office for the Cave Hill Cemetery; the Louisville Electric Light Company’s plant; and the German Baptist church, all in Louisville.  Outside the city they designed the Seventh and Center Street School in Owensboro (1895); the Hodge Tobacco Works in Henderson (ca. 1895); a Catholic church in Hardinsburg; and a gym for Centre College in Danville.  Other buildings in Louisville include the J.J. Douglas Residence (1895); Iroquois Wheeling and Driving Building (1895); the R.A Basson Residence (1892); and a firehouse for Steam Engine Company 21 (ca. 1900). Later buildings designed by the firm include the Carnegie-funded Crescent Hill Library in Louisville (1908); Emerson school (ca. 1904); a parochial school for the St. Vincent De Paul Parish (1911); and a commercial building for Elite R. McDowel (1911).   While the specific role that Bohne played in these projects is unknown, the partnership designed many well-regarded buildings. 

A 1912 article from The Pacific Coast Architect suggests Bohne may have come to Seattle specifically to work on the Knights of Columbus building, as he is cited as “a visiting architect from the Louisville [A.I.A.] Chapter.”  Apparently he decided to stay in Seattle and by 1914 Bohne had become a member of the Washington chapter of the American Institute of Architects.  According to society pages in the Seattle Times, Bohne and his wife, Ada (whom he married in 1893), were active in a variety of civic and social circles in the city.  They were members of the Kentucky Club (for Kentuckians living out of state), and Ferdinand was a member of the Knights of Columbus, as well as an Elk.  According to the 1915 Polk Directory, the couple lived at 954 20th Avenue N, on the east side of Capitol Hill. 

Bohne known designs in Seattle are limited to a handful of projects.  These include the Knights of Columbus (1913); the (Rev. Wood House in Queen Anne (1913); the Rev. Michael O’Callahan House in West Seattle (3050 California Ave, 1913, demolished); the McPeake House in Capitol Hill (1913); alterations to the Riley-Bushmann House (120 39th Ave, 1914); a store in the Industrial District (1913), and the Holy Family Church (1914) in Kirkland. As a sole practitioner F. W. Bohne maintained his architectural practice in Seattle from 1913 to 1916.

For reasons unknown, by 1918 the Bohnes had moved to Youngstown, Ohio where his wife grew up. Ferdinand took a job as a draftsman at the Ohio Steel Works.  His wife, Ada, died in Niles, Ohio in 1929 at the age of 57. Ferdinand lived another 25+ years and died in Niles, Ohio in 1955 at the age of 84.

Adapted from Knights of Columbus - Seattle, NR nomination by BOLA Architecture + Planning