SinclairNeonGlowAs before, click on the image to see a readable version

An update and some notes on the above “architectural map”. The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department building near the bottom should have a completion date of 1974. But the whole map has a common problem in the naming of the architectural firms.

That building was originally designed by a firm then known as Jennings, Newman, Van Etten & Winfree. But by its completion date, Jennings had moved on to start his own firm, Jennings & Associates, and the firm was known as Newman, Van Etten & Winfree. It is certainly understandable that the principals of a firm would want their names associated with the firm’s name, but it is just as certainly confusing for the rest of us.

If you look to the far left, you will note that the O’Hanlon Building is credited to Willard Northup, who opened his office in 1906, but the building was hardly fully occupied before Northup joined with Leet O’Brien to form the firm Northup & O’Brien. For the next several decades, that firm would be the best in town…note that three other buildings on the map, the Pepper Building, the county courthouse and the city hall, are credited to them.

In the late 1920s, a young local architect, Luther Lashmit, left his teaching position at Carnegie and became associated with Northup & O’Brien to work with Natalie Lyons Gray to create Graylyn. He would go on to create an amazing array of buildings, from the “old” library building at UNC-G (he also designed the “new” library tower), to the Durham Life Insurance Building in Raleigh (think improved Reynolds Building, a design that he created as a student at Carnegie several years before the Reynolds Building), to a pair of astonishing blimp hangars near Elizabeth City during World War II (one of which survives), to the 1953 Winston-Salem Public Library (the front entrance to the current Central Library…Luther was invited to give a presentation that year to the national convention of the American Library Association…we have the program…the big building to the rear [1979], was designed by one of Lashmit’s protoges, J. Aubrey Kirby).

During that entire time, the name of the firm never changed…Northup & O’Brien. Then, in the late 1950s, it began to change. Lashmit, Brown & Pollock. Lashmit, James, Brown and Pollock (Bill James died a few months after being named a partner). Did it revert to Lashmit, Brown & Pollock? Don’t know.

After Luther’s retirement, it became Jennings, Newman, Ven Etten & Winfree. Then Newman, Van Etten & Winfree. Then Newman, Johnson, Van Etten & Winfree. Then Newman, Calloway, Johnson, Van Etten & Winfree. After Michael Newman decided to take a well deserved retirement, Tom Calloway’s name moved to the front of the queue.

Today, the firm has evolved into Calloway, Johnson, Moore & West, or, in its most recent transmogrification, simply CJMW Architecture. I’ve probably missed a name change or three, but with all the changes one thing has remained the same…inventive, quality architecture from 1906 to today.

The same can be said for another firm that appears more than once on the map as Walter, Robbs, Callahan & Pierce. They have undergone a similar evolution in names, but there has been no variation in the inventiveness or quality of their work.

We may be confused, but the good news is that all of these firms and others have left us a rich and diverse cityscape of buildings to enjoy.


Coming whenever I can find the time, the blimp hangar at the Navy’s Weeks Air Station near Elizabeth City, NC, 1942