W.T. Cooper & Son, Saginaw, Michigan
(William T. Cooper - Born 1851, Detroit, Michigan; died 1933, Saginaw, Michigan)
(Harry R. Cooper - Born 1876, Detroit, Michigan; died 1914, Saginaw, Michigan)
William T. Cooper was in partnership with J. Fred Beckbissinger 1914 - 1923
According to his obituary, William T. Cooper attended Bryant & Stratton Business College in Detroit and briefly studied architecture in the Detroit office of J.V. Smith and Malcomson. After moving to Saginaw in 1877, he was engaged in the lumber industry and prospered. However, he was still interested in architecture.1 Although he is first listed as an architect in the 1893 City Directory, as early as 1889 he was supplying designs for buildings and in 1890 designed the Saginaw City Hall. After studying architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, his son, Harry Cooper, joined the firm. After Harry Cooper’s death in 1914, he formed a partnership with J. Fred Beckbissinger.2 After he retired in 1923, Beckbissinger and Cooper was dissolved. Beckbissinger continued to practice alone.3
Cooper’s buildings combine many design sources; however, there is a consistent interest in the Colonial Revival - one that becomes more pronounced in the early twentieth century. When he went into partnership with his son, Harry Cooper, the firm’s work becomes notably more monumental in scale. After his sons death, he joined his office with J. Fred Beckbissinger in 1914 and it becomes difficult to separate the work of the two designers.
Saginaw Club [Constructed as East Saginaw Club], 1889
The Great Lakes Crossings Building (constructed for Com M.N.G. and the Second Division M.S.N.B. Armory4
Bay City, Michigan:
Flint & Pere Marquette Union Passenger Station, 1904 (W.T. Cooper and Son)6
The Mixx Night Club [constructed for The Commercial National Bank]7
1“Wm. T. Cooper, Architect, Dies: Designed Large Number of Saginaw’s Impressive Buildings.” Saginaw Daily News. 12 May 1933.
2“Death Comes to Harry R. Cooper” Saginaw Daily News. March 2, 1914. 7.
3Saginaw Daily News. 12 May 1933.
4Saginaw Daily News. 12 May 1933.
5Bearinger Building Construction Drawings. Frantz and Spence Archives. Historical Society of Saginaw County
6Dale Patrick Wolicki. The Historic Architecture of Bay City, Michigan. Bay City, Michigan: Bay County Historical Society. 1998. 186.
7Saginaw Daily News. 12 May 1933.