Saturday, June 18, 2011

Louis Hazeltine, Bligh Theater Architect

Here's a follow-up to our note about the Bligh Theater. This article from January 1, 1911 poses several questions for more research! It's important to remember this is advertorial rather than straight news, though. But while it may not be conclusive by itself, it suggests several new attributions.

"By his fruits ye shall know him." There is no more appropriate expression that could be used in praise or recommendation of Louis R. Hazeltine, Salem's new architect, than the biblical quotation above given. Although Mr. Hazeltine has been engaged in the business of architectural designing and drafting in Salem for considerably less than two years, he has been responsible for the creation of some of the handsomest business and residence structures in the city and has gained an enviable reputation in his line of work.

Mr. Hazeltine came directly to Salem from New York city, in March, 1909, and had no more than "hung out his shingle,: than he was flooded with business and has been buried in work up to his ears ever since. He was awarded the contracts for some of the largest state buildings during his first year of work in this city, and his work was of such a character than his bids are always given the preference by the state board of building commissioners, all else being equal.

Perhaps one of the most striking examples of his ability an ingenuity in the art and science of modern architecture is the almost miraculous transformation of the old and antiquated Willamette Hotel, into a hostelry of the most modern type, both as to design of architecture, inside and out, and the interior appointments, which places the Hotel Marion, the new creation, well up in the list of first class hotels upon the coast, and it is the pride of every loyal citizen of Salem - and they are all loyal.

Among the most important or prominent of the business and residence structures which Mr. Hazeltine designed and superintended the construction of during the past year, to say nothing of more than a score of dwellings of a minor character are the two-story business block for Catlin & Linn, on State street; residence for District Attorney John H. McNary*, at the corner of Center and Summer streets; the state sanitorium for the treatment of tubercular patients**; Bligh's new two-story theatre building, on State street; residence for B. C. Miles on Court street.***

Mr. Hazeltine designed and furnished the detailed specifications for all of the physicians cottages**** at the insane asylum, and many other state buildings last year, as well as numerous dwellings and business blocks in the city, all of which stand as monuments to his knowledge and skill in his profession, and just now, he is so overcrowded with applications that he cannot procure competent assistance sufficient to perform the work that is being heaped upon him and has been obliged to decline many of the applications made to him.
The downtown historic district nomination form lacks information on Hazeltine, and the attribution here for the Catlin & Linn building appears to be new.

* Here's a note on a heritage tree, a ginko, at the old site of his house.

** More here and here. It's not entirely clear whether Hazeltine did a remodel of the old deaf-mute school or designed new construction.

*** The Spaulding house, next door to the Miles house, and its neighborhood heat plant is discussed here in a fascinating note.

**** Information on the State Hospital cottages is hard to find, and the historic district nomination form has little. The library photo collection identifies the two largest and fanciest as Hazeltine's, however. (Modern view here.) One of the cottages resembles the Spaulding house next to the Miles house on Court street, but this might be coincidence.


  1. All Architects of Oregon says about Hazeltine is that he practiced in Salem from 1908-1910 and that he employed or was associated with George Morrison Post. "Nothing else is known about Hazeltine".

  2. Thank you! A 1916 note attributes the Spaulding house to Post, so the similarity of the OSH cottage to the Spaulding house may indeed be more than coincidence!

    The note also says Post is also the designer of McKinley Elementary School and the Wallace Moore building. The Moore attribution may be new (McKinley is not).

    Perhaps we'll have more on him in another post!

  3. And here's a better image of the Catlin & Linn (here Catlin & Lynn) building.

  4. Oh yeah...forgot to mention that Post also did the Carnegie Library!

  5. Here's another note from January 1, 1910, with more detail and additional buildings:

    "A mere glance at the list of works undertaken by Mr. Hazeltine who came to Salem a perfect stranger, bought himself a home and went to work at his profession, will convince any man of his ability. At present he is doing nine buildings for the state, including two residences at the asylum, a steam laundry of brick constructed on up-to-date modern principles, an amusement and dining hall of brick at the asylum farm, reconstruction of shops at the state prison, etc., etc. Also residences for Henry and Milton Meyers, for E. Hofer, for Ellis Purvine; a cold-storage plant for the Salem Brewing Association; all the stations, including terminals for the Salem, Falls City and Western rail road; modern flats for John H. Albert with separate entrances; Rigdon & Lehman's gothic undertaking chapel; residences for John Engdahl, and Miss O. Ballou; a two story brick block for Eugene Eckerlin, the upper story of which will be occupied by the German society, this room will be 50 by 95 feet, without a post or pillar, and with overhead lighting and ventilators; two-story brick garage for Catlin & Linn on State street. Mr. Hazeltine -is to be highly commended for the excellent judgment shown in remodelling the old Willamette [hotel]."

  6. Hazeltine is listed as an architect in 1911 and 1912 in Victoria, BC on this site.