Charles A. Dieman (ca. 1873-1937), Architect
Charles Dieman was born in Wisconsin around 1873 to Charles Diemann, a Prussian-born carpenter. The family was in Milwaukee at the time of the 1880 U. S. Federal Census. By the time of the 1900 U. S. Federal Census, son Charles and his newly-wed wife Mabel (ca. 1876-1914) were residing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Charles had been practicing as an architect since 1896.[a] Mabel Dieman died in Cedar Rapids in 1914. From 1900 to 1910, Dieman practiced in partnership with Ferdinand Comstock Fiske with offices in Cedar Rapids and Lincoln, Nebraska. The Iowa office was referred to as Dieman & Fiske while the Nebraska commissions were carried out under the name Fiske & Dieman, yet it appears to have been a partnership continuously from 1900 to 1910.[b]
From 1910 to 1922, Dieman operated as C. A. Dieman & Co. in Cedar Rapids, then he closed that firm and moved to Denver, forming the firm Gardner-Perry-Dieman.[c] His second wife, Clara Barth Leonard Sorensen Dieman (1877-1959) was a noted artist, sculptor, and educator.[d]
Compiled Nebraska Directory Listings
Lincoln, Nebraska, 1902-1910
Educational and Professional Associations
1888-1889: carpenter, with his father Charles Diemann, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
1890-1891: draftsman, Gus. H. Leipold & Co., architects, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
1892: draftsman, Augustin V. Wiskocil, architect, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
1892-1895: draftsman, Jossleyn & Taylor, architects, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
1896-1900: architect, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
1910-1922: architect, Charles A. Dieman & Co., Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Buildings & Projects
The projects of the partnership of Charles Dieman and F. C. Fiske originating from their Cedar Rapids, Iowa office are listed on the page Dieman & Fiske, Architects. Those associated with their Lincoln, Nebraska office were typically identified as the work of Fiske & Dieman and are listed on a page thus titled. [h][i]
Dieman continued to practice in Cedar Rapids as Charles A. Dieman & Co. until 1922.[f]
Dieman relocated to Denver in 1922 where he continued to practice, mostly independently. He resided in Houston, Texas, from about 1928-1930, then settled in Santa Fe for a few years preceding his death in 1937 in Milwaukee.[c][g][h]
a. Dieman was listed as 27 years old on his next birthday, and his bride Mabel Ferguson 24, in the record of their marriage on March 6, 1900, in Cedar Rapids. The 1900 Census lists his birth month and year as August 1870 and hers as January 1872, while the 1910 Census gives both of their ages as 37. The marriage record is deemed by the editor (EFZ) as the most likely reliable.
b. Improvement Bulletin announced on February 17, 1900 "Fine new quarters have been fitted up in the Granby block, Cedar Rapids, Ia., for the new architectural firm formed by C. A. Dieman and F. C. Fiske."
c. American Architect [and] Architectural Review (1922) reported "Charles A. Dieman, one of the pioneer architects in Iowa, has closed the business of C. A. Dieman and Company, in Cedar Rapids, and has gone to Denver, Col., where he has become affiliated with the firm of Gardner-Perry-Dieman. Mr. Gardner was at one time associated with Mr. Dieman in Cedar Rapids."
d. Dieman's wife Clara "specialized in coordinating sculpture with building design...In Colorado she designed the exterior sculpture at the Colorado Business Bank that included the lobby coin ceiling and the terracotta tiles flanking the bronze entry doors. She also created the eagle forming the keystone above the entrance, as well as the decorative heads with images of people, birds and flowers for the two-story scagliola-finished metal quatrefoil columns circling the bank lobby."[5
e. Improvement Bulletin credited the Cedar Rapids Auditorium to Dieman and described it on June 24, 1899 as "It will be 96x136, stone and brick front, plaster sides, gravel roof, hard plaster, steam heat, yellow pine flooring and finish, electric light, iron stairs, metal or wire lath, plumbing, etc. Cost $20,000. Contract to be let in September." On August 12, 1899, that magazine published a perspective of "PROPOSED AUDITORIUM AT CEDAR RAPIDS, IA." The Cedar Rapids Republican published the same perspective in March of that year, with a long "booster" article urging residents to purchase shares in the endeavor, noting the foundation and cornerstone had already been laid. Historic postcards of the Cedar Rapids Auditorium show the date of 1899 on the cornice and three arched central entries of Dieman's design, but a single central tower rather than twin corner towers of the published perspective.
f. Dieman designed two halls or gymnasiums for the Cedar Rapids Sokol organization, the first in 1900 and the second, larger facility in 1908. The second Sokol Gym is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination is an excellent source of information on Dieman and lists approximately 100 of his projects. See https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/pdfs/13000274.pdf (accessed January 23, 2017).
g. Dieman's obituary in 1937 notes that he "made his home in Santa Fe for seven years," while also noting his "work in architecture brought him to Denver, Houston, Tex., and Santa Fe about ten years ago."
h. Dieman's announced move to Denver took place, but it is unclear whether the partnership with his former Cedar Rapids employee, John M. Gardner, actually occurred. John M. Gardner & Co. is listed among Denver architects in the 1923 and 1924 Denver City Directories. Charles A. Dieman is listed as an architect at his home address, without mention of any affiliation, in 1923. In 1924 Dieman was listed with M. H. & B. Hoyt, architects, in Denver; then in 1925-1927 he was again listed as "architect" at his Denver home address. By 1928, Charles and his wife Clara had relocated to Houston, Texas, where directories listed him as an architect at least through 1930. By 1934, the architect and his sculptor wife Clara were residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
1. "Chas. A. Dieman, Architect," Cedar Rapids Republican (July 10, 1898), 7.
2. Ancestry.com. Iowa, Marriage Records, 1880-1937 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. S. V. "Mabel Ferguson," http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc=KcQ940&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&indiv=1&db=iamarriagerec&gss=angs-d&new=1&rank=1&msT=1&gsfn=mabel&gsfn_x=0&gsln=ferguson&gsln_x=0&msypn__ftp=Cedar%20Rapids,%20Linn,%20Iowa,%20USA&msypn=42315&msypn_PInfo=8-%7C0%7C1652393%7C0%7C2%7C0%7C18%7C0%7C1784%7C42315%7C0%7C0%7C&MSAV=1&mssng=charles&mssns=dieman&cp=0&catbucket=rstp&uidh=iw9&pcat=34&fh=0&h=903344855&recoff=&ml_rpos=1 Accessed January 29, 2017.
3. Ancestry.com 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. S. V. "Mable Dilman," http://interactive.ancestry.com/7602/004120107_00058?pid=14543988&backurl=http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc%3DKcQ970%26_phstart%3DsuccessSource%26usePUBJs%3Dtrue%26indiv%3D1%26db%3D1900usfedcen%26gss%3Dangs-d%26new%3D1%26rank%3D1%26gsfn%3DCharles%26gsfn_x%3D0%26gsln%3DDieman%26gsln_x%3D0%26msbdy%3D1873%26msbdy_x%3D1%26msbdp%3D2%26msbpn__ftp%3DMilwaukee,%2520Milwaukee,%2520Wisconsin,%2520USA%26msbpn%3D54011%26msbpn_PInfo%3D8-%257C0%257C1652393%257C0%257C2%257C0%257C52%257C0%257C2025%257C54011%257C0%257C0%257C%26msypn__ftp%3DCedar%2520Rapids,%2520Linn,%2520Iowa,%2520USA%26msypn%3D42315%26msypn_PInfo%3D8-%257C0%257C1652393%257C0%257C2%257C0%257C18%257C0%257C1784%257C42315%257C0%257C0%257C%26mssng%3DMable%26gskw%3Darchitect%26MSAV%3D1%26uidh%3Diw9%26pcat%3D35%26fh%3D4%26h%3D14543988%26recoff%3D%26ml_rpos%3D5&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=KcQ970&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true Accessed January 29, 2017.
4. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. S. V. "Charles A. Dieman," http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc=KcQ975&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&indiv=1&db=1910uscenindex&gss=angs-d&new=1&rank=1&msT=1&gsfn=C.%20A.&gsfn_x=0&gsln=Dieman&gsln_x=0&msypn__ftp=Cedar%20Rapids,%20Linn,%20Iowa,%20USA&msypn=42315&msypn_PInfo=8-%7C0%7C1652393%7C0%7C2%7C0%7C18%7C0%7C1784%7C42315%7C0%7C0%7C&msbdy_x=1&msbdp=2&MSAV=1&msbdy=1873&msbpn__ftp=Milwaukee,%20Milwaukee,%20Wisconsin,%20USA&msbpn=54011&msbpn_PInfo=8-%7C0%7C1652393%7C0%7C2%7C0%7C52%7C0%7C2025%7C54011%7C0%7C0%7C&mssng=Mable&gskw=architect&cp=0&catbucket=rstp&uidh=iw9&pcat=35&fh=0&h=7451658&recoff=&ml_rpos=1 Accessed January 29, 2017.An Architectural and Historical Survey of Public Libraries in Iowa, 1870-1940 MS (Iowa State Historic Preservation Office, 1980).
5. Improvement Bulletin (February 17, 1900), 14.
6. American Architect--Architectural Review (September 27, 1922) v.122:1, 12.
7. Stan Cuba, The Denver Artists Guild, University Press of Colorado, 2015.
8. "Design for Auditorium, Cedar Rapids, Ia. Chas. A. Dieman, Architect," Cedar Rapids Republican (March 26, 1899), 9.6.
9. Improvement Bulletin (June 24, 1899), 14; (August 12, 1899), 21.
10. "Mrs. Dieman Dies After Long Illness: Wife of Well Known Architect Passes Early Saturday Morning," Cedar Rapids Republican (November 22, 1914), 3.
11. "Charles A. Dieman Dies in Milwaukee," Santa Fe New Mexican (December 13, 1937), 9.
12. Jan Olive Full, "Sokol Gymnasium," nomination to National Register of Historic Places, 2013, 8-11 to 8-16. https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/pdfs/13000274.pdf Accessed January 23, 2017.
13. Milwaukee City Directories, 1888-1893.
14. Denver City Directories, 1923-27.
15. Houston City Directories, 1928-1930.
E. F. Zimmer and D. Murphy, “Charles A. Dieman (ca. 1873-1937), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, August 13, 2019. http://www.e-nebraskahistory.org/index.php?title=Place_Makers_of_Nebraska:_The_Architects Accessed, August 8, 2020.
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