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Beth Trueblood
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Trueblood: True Architect

My grandfather, Wilbur Tyson Trueblood, Sr., was born in 1874 in St. Louis, Missouri, a city he would go on to shape in many ways.

He had a passion for advancing his education and attended the old Manual Training School of Washington University in St. Louis and a year at Columbia University in New York City.

Pages from The Manual Training School of Washington University book of graduates:

Manual-Training-School-Book-Pages

Following school, he went on to apprentice with the architecture firm, McKim, Mead and White in New York City, New York. He was passionate about his work and his future as an architect. Seeking to further his education, Wilbur traveled to France, where he was dedicated to another year of studies at École des Beaux-Arts, an influential art school in Paris.

After returning to the United States, he lived in St. Louis, his hometown, where he taught architecture at Washington University for two years before becoming partners with Theodore C. Link in 1911.

He became a registered architect in 1916 and a member of the American Institute Architects in January of 1917.

Telegram informing Trueblood of his acceptance to AIA:

Acceptance American Institues of Architects_Trueblood

In 1923, Trueblood formed a partnership, Trueblood and Graf, with architect Hugo Graf. Well-known architect, Charles Eames, also worked with them as an architect at Trueblood and Graf while he was in school. The partnership would dissolve in 1934, only a few years before my grandfather’s death, but together they designed and worked on many memorable buildings in the St. Louis area including the University City High School of the University City Education District. The District encompasses three buildings, University City High School designed by Trueblood and Graf in 1928 and completed in 1930, and Hanley Junior High School and Jackson Park Elementary School designed shortly after by William B. Ittner. These three school buildings are visually tied by the mixed beige, orange and brown brick of their construction. They also each feature limestone trim, red tile roofs and are two and three story buildings on high basements.

Wilbur proudly served as the president of AIA St. Louis in 1929 and 1930. In 1932, after the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt, he was among a group of architects called to Washington to set up the Federal Housing Administration. He continued his own work at Trueblood and Graf as well, balancing work between the firm and the FHA. In 1936, he became a fellow of AIA, one of the highest honors for an architect and a dream of his come true.

Telegram informing Trueblood of his acceptance and his reply:

Fellowship-of-AIA

He also worked with well-known architect Theodore C. Link throughout his career. Together, they are now known for their work on their planned government buildings in Mississippi, the master plan and nine buildings of Louisiana State University (including Memorial Tower), Barnes Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Union Station.

Cornerstone inscription of Mississippi Power Plant, a Landmark Building at Mississippi State:

Mississippi Cornerstone_Trueblood

Other work Trueblood is recognized for includes work on the Carpenter Library, the Rand-Johnson Memorial Surgical Wing, the chapel of St. John’s Methodist Church, Webster Groves City Hall in St. Louis, Missouri, several buildings for Central College campus in Fayetteville, Missouri and many private residences throughout St. Louis neighborhoods such as Ladue and Clayton.

Though I never knew my grandfather, Wilbur T. Trueblood, Sr., I am proud of his accomplishments and grateful that he lives on in the many buildings he touched in our hometown and across the region.

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