Little is known about Seattle architect Ulysses Grant Fay. Reportedly he was born in Rochster, New York on July 6, 1868. While his formal education and arcitectural training is unknown, by 1884, at the age of 16, Fay worked as a draftsman in the office of architect John R. Thomas. His older brother, Jay, also worked at the firm. City directories indicate that that Ulysses had moved to Lowell, Massachutes by 1889, but it is unclear what he was doing there.
He arrived in the Pacific Northwest to oversee the construction of the Waldorf Apartment Building (1907). Reportedly he worked for the New York firm of Howells & Stockes who served as consultants to local architect Henderson Ryan on the project. According the 1910 Seattle census, Fay initially lived with this brother.
Fey is listed as architect in Seattle directory as early as 1908. And by 1909 he had formed a short-lived partnership with Tacoma architects Ambrose Russell and Everett Babcock, perhaps to take advantage of the potential work at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition. The firm, known as Fay, Russell & Babcock, is credited with the design of the Masonic Building (1908) at the fair.
At the time Russell & Babcock were a well established firm in Tacoma; so Fay, whom has his name listed first in the partnership, must have been a well respected architect in his own right. Fey is listed as residing in Tacoma in the 1909 City directory.
By 1913 the partnership had disolved and Fey continued his own independent practice in Seattle. Known projects are limited to the Seattle First Baptist Church (1911-12 w/Russell & Babcock); the Dr. Rufus Smith House (1913) in the HIghlands; the C.A. Reynolds House (1913); Lakewood Civic Improvment Clubhouse (1914); and a one-story tile garage for Elliott Higgins (1913).
Documents also show that Fey, own his own, designed a $20,000 hotel for American Mortgage & Guarentee Company at Eighth Ave and Westlake Blvd in Seattle in 1909.
Fay died in Seattle on April 14, 1918.
By Michael Houser, State Architectural Historian - May 2012