Fred Grafton Rounds was born January 6, 1893, at St. Paul, Minnesota and received his formal architectural training from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduating in 1916. Upon graduation he was drafted into the Army and rose to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, 220nd Engineers.
Rounds began his career in architecture for the noted architectural firm of Croft & Boerner, in Minneapolis in 1919. In 1923, Rounds joined the Washington State College (WSC) Department of Architectural Engineering, where he served as an assistant professor of architecture and assistant designer in the college architect's office. Outside of his college duties, he formed a partnership with his colleague, Stanley A. Smith. Together the partnership of Smith & Rounds designed many residences in and around Pullman in the late 1920s, along with several sorority and fraternity houses.
For reasons unknown, in 1928 Rounds left his post at WSC to pursue a full-time private architecture practice in Chehalis. After purchasing the office of Jack DeForest Griffin, the Great Depression hit, and Rounds never experienced the volume of work Griffin had. In 1934 he returned to the WSC campus to oversee several college building construction projects sponsored by the federal Public Works Administration. From 1937 to 1950, Rounds served as superintendent of the State College's Department of Buildings and Grounds and eventually retired from WSC in 1958.
Notable project by Rounds include the Lewis County Old Folks Home (1930) and Masonic Lodge (1932) in Chehalis. In 1932 he designed an addition to Pullman High School.
While in Pullman, Rounds was a civic-minded resident. He joined the local Kiwanis club, and served on numerous committees. He was elected Kiwanis Club president in 1943, and in 1955 served as the Pacific Northwest District Governor. In addition, Rounds was an organizer and long-time member of the Pullman Planning Commission and the Whitman County Planning Commission. He also served on the Pullman School Board and the Pullman Memorial Hospital Board; was director of the Pullman-WSC Civil Defense program and chairman of the Pullman Chamber of Commerce.
Rounds was also an active member of the Pullman Community Congregational Church, where he served as a deacon and as chief usher. He also oversaw the design and construction of the congregation's new house of worship in the mid-1950s. .
Rounds died in Pullman on May 2, 1972. His collection of papers from 1918 to 1967 are found in the WSU Special Collections Library.
By Michael Houser, State Architectural Historian - Nov. 2011