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Luther Twichell

1867 - 1939

Luther Twichell born in 1867 in Hastings, Minnesota had graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1888 and before his arrival in Tacoma had served as head of the architectural department of the Minneapolis Machinery & Steel Company from 1901 to 1908.14 Presumably he moved to Tacoma in 1908 at the urging of Frederick H. Heath, whom Twichell had worked with at the offices of Minneapolis architect Warren H. Hayes.  In fact, Twichell and Heath were close friends and each named their respective sons after their friend.  In 1908 Twichell formed a short-lived partnership with Heath that lasted only two years. Together the two made quick names for themselves and quickly became one of Tacoma’s most prominent architectural firms. Even though their partnership was short-lived, it can be presumed that the partnership disbanded amicably since Heath was the President of the Board of Park Commissioners when Twichell was hired to design a new Pheasantry for the zoo in 1912 and a new streetcar station for Point Defiance in 1913. 

Later Twichell became the founder and first president of the Architect’s Club of Tacoma but for reasons unknown returned to Minneapolis in 1916 where he formed another short-lived partnership with architect Albert Van Dyck.  Twichell retired in 1932 and died while visiting the Tacoma area to see his daughter and son-in-law on December 19, 1939.

Known residential projects by Twichell after he left the partnership with Heath include the G.H. Raleigh House (1910); the Wilbur Todd House (1911); the E.A. Younglove House (1911); the Judge Reuben Laffoon House (1912); the Dr. S.W. Mowers House (1912); the Alexander Gardner House (1913); the J.B. Heiteshu House (1914); and the A.E. Grafton House (1914). Commercial project include the Tacoma Gas Co. Building (1910); the Colonial Hotel (1912); the Tenino Depot (1914); and the Dr. H. J. Whitacre Building (1916).   The designs of these various projects ranged in style from Dutch Colonial to Tudor Revival and demonstrate the skill of Twichell in delineating a broad range of eclectic visions.