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Rolf M. Eskil

1899 - 1992

Architect Rolf M. Eskil was born to Norwegian immigrant parents Jorgen and Hannah Eskil on Jan. 11, 1899 in Iron Mountain, Michigan. He and his siblings grew up on a family farm in Iron Mountain, where their father, a “scientific” agriculturalist, grew record-setting potato crops and prize-winning apples and ran a model apiary. By trade, his father was a professional photographer.  As a young man Eskil enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley, graduating in 1924 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture. While unrolled at the university, he worked as a draftsman for the California Public Works Department.  After graduation, Eskil his first published design appeared in the 1926 publication Fireproof Homes of Period Designs.  His project had been selected to feature in the publication by a jury from Architectural Forum.  Many of his designs from this early period in his career were revival styles of Tudor and Spanish Colonial architecture.  After graduation Eskil worked for a variety of architectural offices including one in Carmel (1930) and for F.W. Green (1938) Los Angeles. 

Fireproof Homes of Period Designs - 1926. Rolf M. Eskil design.While living in California, Eskil married Katharine Brauns, also from Iron Mountain in 1928. Together they had one child, Susan. For reasons unknown in 1940 the family moved Phoenix, Arizona and remained there for three years.  A talented designer, many of his projects were featured in the local newspaper.

In late 1943 the family moved to Washington state, presumably to be closer to his wife’s relatives.  Katherine father, August Brauns, had purchased orchard property near Entiat in 1918 and started the Keystone Fruit Company to grow, pack, and market apples, pears, and cherries.  Following his death in 1934, various family members continued to operate the fruit business.

Records indicate that by 1956 Eskil and his family were living on the Keystone Ranch in Entiat, a 100-acre apple orchard property. While there he also raised Morgan show horses on the ranch. During this period, Eskil continued to practice architecture.  His known projects in Washington state are limited.  They include the Lake Chelan Lutheran Church in Chelan, Faith Presbyterian Church in Wenatchee (1954), Cascadian Fruit Shipper Elevator (1945) also in Wenatchee, the Boy & Girl Scout Log Cabin in City Park (1957) in Chelan, and the Loup Loup Ski Bowl Day Lodge (1967) in Okanogan. Reportedly he also designed numerous homes in the area, however no residential designs in the state have been verified to date.

Outside of work Eskil enjoyed experimenting with new tree fruit varieties. He retired in 1966 and spent the last 16 years of his life (approximately 1976 to 1992) living with his daughter in Malaga. Eskil passed away in Wenatchee at the age of 93 on September 26, 1992.

Adapted from NR nomination by Jim Woodward & HPIF by Ann Sharley

Bibliography

“Attractive Residence is Completed” Arizona Republic Dec 15. 1940 pg:20

“Metropolitan Phoenix Gains New Homes” Arizona Republic Nov. 10, 1940.

“New Encanto Boulevard Dwelling Occupied” Arizona Republic Dec 29, 1940 pg:17.

“Brick House is Completed” Arizona Republic Jan 5, 1941 pg:16

“Brick Dwelling is Completed” Arizona Republic May 11, 1941 pg:18.

“Corner Lot is Utilized” Arizona Republic June 1, 1941 pg:17

“Harry Tovrea Sells House” Arizona Republic Oct. 17, 1943 pg:16

“Parent-Teacher Associations” Arizona Republic Jan. 14, 1944.

“August E. Brauns Fatally Injured in Auto Accident” Iron Mountain News, Nov. 12, 1934 pg:1, 3.

“J. J. Eskil Dies at His Farm Home” Iron Mountain News, Jan. 15. 1941 pg:2.

“Northwest Morgan Meeting” The Morgan Horse Magazine June 1956 pg:9.

“Ski Lodge Contract is Awarded to Gann” Okanogan Independent  Aug. 3, 1967

“Work Nearly Completed at Loup Loup Ski Bowl” Okanogan Independent Nov. 9, 1967.

“Ski Area Work is Underway” Omak Chronicle Oct. 5, 1967.

“The Sport That Took Over: Skiing” Omak Chronicle Dec. 21, 1967.

“Sacramentan Gets Architect’s Prize” Sacramento Bee, Feb 13, 1926 pg:34

“Larger Course Eyed for Skiers” Spokane Chronicle, Jan. 11, 1956 pg:22.

“Ski Club Plans to Close Course” Spokane Chronicle, Mar. 27, 1956, pg:22.

“Third of Quota Already Raised” Spokesman Review March 8 1945 pg:5.

“News Notes of Twisp” Spokesman Review Feb. 27, 1953 pg:6.

“Loup Loup Ski Members Meet This Afternoon” Spokesman Review Nov. 14, 1953 pg:10.

“Church Being Built” Spokesman Review July 1, 1953.

“Around the Empire: Letter From Chelan” Spokesman Review Aug 9, 1956 pg:13

“Loup Loup Skiing Opens Sunday” Spokesman Review. Dec. 6, 1956 pg:23.

“Loup Loup Course Ready for Use; 70 Turn Out Early” Spokesman Review. Jan. 10, 1958 pg:18.

“Area to Have New Ski Run” Spokesman Review Apr. 8, 1958 pg:6.

“New Apple Warehouse Has Efficiency, Economy” Spokesman Review Oct. 17, 1960 pg:6.

“Two Ski Hills will be Open” Spokesman Review Dec. 16. 1961 pg:6.

“Loup Loup Ski Bowl Hours Given” Spokesman Review Jan. 8, 1962 pg:6.

“Loup Loup Ski Dedication Set” Spokesman Review. Jan. 26, 1968 pg:5.

“Ski Bowl Plans Dedication Rite” Spokesman Review Feb. 10, 1968 pg:6.

State of California Department of Public Works First Biennial Report, November 1, 1922, Part VI. California State Printing Office, Sacramento, California.

University of California Register 1923-24, Volume II. University of California Press, Berkeley, California.

U.S. Census - 1910, 1930, 1940  

U.S. Social Security Index

Rolf M. Eskil [obituary]. Wenatchee World, Sept. 29, 1992.

Woodward, Jim.  NRHP Form: Willo Historic District [Phoenix, Arizona]. Janus Associates, Phoenix, Arizona. 1990

Sharley, Anne.  HPIF – Wisaard. Loup Loup Ski Bow Day Lodge, April 29, 2020.