Bradford Lee Gilbert


Bradford Lee Gilbert
(March 24, 1853 - September 1, 1911)

Bradford Lee Gilbert was born in Watertown, New York to parents Marie Antoinette (Bacon) and Horatio Gates Gilbert. Mr. Gilbert was well educated having attended Sedgwick Institute, Gt. Barrington, Siglar's School, Newburg, Irvington and Yale College.

He was a member of the New York Chapter of American Institute of Architects, The National Sculpture Society, The Architectural League, The National Arts Club, The Transportation Club, The Quill Club, The Riding Club, and The Chicago Club.

Mr. Gilbert enjoyed many distinctions, but was a driving force in the growing railroad industry. He was the consulting architect to eighteen of the principal railroads in America, and was appointed as official architect to the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroad under Octave Chanute (who was a distinguished bridge engineer and assisted in the Wright Brother's creation of airplanes).

Mr. Gilbert played a major role in railroad companies like, the enlargement to the first Grand Central Station in New York; the Illinois Central Station in Chicago, Illinois; the Boston & Maine Union Station in Lowell, Massachusetts and many others.

He was supervising architect of the Atlanta International and Cotton State Exposition in 1895, designing practically all of the fifteen principal structures, and was architectural chief of the South Carolina Interstate and West Indian Exposition in Charleston during 1901.

His most famous work was the "Tower Building" where he held his practice in an office on the top floor.  Because of the building's unique design and construction, all credit is due to him of inventing what is known today as "skeleton or curtain wall construction".

Mr. Gilbert was first married in 1871 in New York to Cora, daughter of Captain John Rathbone.  After his divorce, he married his second wife in 1892 in Cranford, New Jersey to Maria (Fahy) McAuley, widow of Jerry McAuley, the famous missionary, who died in 1884.  On February 12, 1896, Bradford and Maria had a daughter named Blossom.

Bradford passed away in Accord, Ulster County, New York of Dropsy (known today as Edema).


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