Dean & Dean, Architects

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Chicago, Illinois, 1903-ca. 1940


George Robinson Dean, Architect & Partner 1903-1919

Arthur Randall Dean, Architect & Partner 1903- ca. 1940

Dean & Dean, Architects was an architectural partnership founded in 1903 by brothers George and Arthur Dean. The two architects grew up in Nebraska, and have been referred to locally as “the college architects” in reference to their numerous campus designs for the Doane College in Crete, Nebraska. After their studies, both men were soon working in Chicago firms. After a period of time working independently, the Dean brothers started their firm together. When George Dean died in 1919, Arthur carried on the firm for about two more decades.[11]

George and Arthur were the fifth and seventh children of Reverend Samuel Chase and Augusta Abbot Dean’s eight offspring. Reverend Chase and his wife were missionaries in India, where their first six children were born: Horace, 1857; Carrie, 1859; Walter, 1861; Frank, 1863; George, 1864; and Edwin, 1866. The family returned to the United States in 1867. Arthur Dean was born in 1869 in the Dean family’s previous home, Mount Vernon, New Hampshire. They later moved to Georgia, where Norman was born in 1871.

Reverend Samuel moved the family to Nebraska in 1872; first organizing a Congregational church and farming in Steele City, and later preaching in Wymore, Plymouth, and South Bend, Nebraska. Six of the Dean children attended Doane College, with three graduating from there. Each Dean became successful in their fields: Horace was a dairy farmer; Carrie was a teacher; Walter became a dentist, and Frank, an ophthalmologist.[8] Edwin first was a pastor, and later became the Doane College president from 1925-1936.[26] Norman Dean was a businessman in Omaha.[8]

Dean & Dean formed in the spring of 1903.[4] Their first big commission came in 1906 for the United States Steel Corporation at Gary, Indiana, which work consisted of a company office building and three large groups of houses.[22] More prominent was the industrial work for the town of Morgan Park, Duluth, Minnesota, where the firm designed and built the entire “model” town for United States Steel Corporation.[6] During World War I, Dean & Dean were commissioned by the government to design housing for the War Chemical Plants at Niagara Falls, New York.

After George’s death in 1919, Arthur carried on the Dean & Dean firm alone. Arthur Dean designed 275 more houses for U.S. Steel, a group of houses for the Middlewest Utilities Company at Grand Tower, Illinois, and another group for the Kentucky Utilities Company at Pineville, Kentucky. Arthur designed three more buildings for the Doane College campus in Crete, as well as the Master Place.[4:6-7]

Dean campus plat.jpg
Map of Doane College Campus (1927), Crete, Nebraska. (Dean & Dean)

This page is a contribution to the publication, Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. See the format and contents page for more information on the compilation and page organization.

Educational & Professional Associations

1900: George and Arthur are listed in the Chicago city directory individually as George R. Dean, Architect, and Arthur R. Dean, Architect, Chicago, Illinois.[e]

1903-1919: George and Arthur are partners in the firm Dean & Dean, Architects, Chicago, Illinois.[4:6][7]

1920-ca.1940: Following George’s death, Arthur continues the firm of Dean & Dean, Architects Chicago, Illinois.[4:6][7]

Nebraska Buildings & Projects

Whitcomb Conservatory & Lee Memorial Chapel (1906-1907), Doane College, Crete, Nebraska. (SA01-008)

Fiske Lodge (1909-1910), Doane College, Crete, Nebraska. (SA01-057)

From George’s death in 1919 onward, Arthur ran the Dean & Dean firm on his own.

Senior Class Pillars (1919-1920), West vehicular entrance to campus, Doane College, Crete, Nebraska.[16]

Doane College Master Plan (1927-1928), Doane College, Crete, Nebraska.[17]

Men's Hall – Smith Hall (1929), Doane College, Crete, Nebraska.[4][18] (SA01-011)

Brandt Memorial Bridge (1930), Miller Pond, Doane College, Crete, Nebraska.[26]

Frees Hall (1930-1931), Doane College, Crete, Nebraska.[4][26]

Dean Memorial Pergola (1930-1931), Doane College, Crete, Nebraska.[9][10][19][b]

Porter-Brande Memorial Bridge (1931), Doane Lake, Doane College, Crete, Nebraska.[10][11]


a. In 1879, George was enrolled at Doane College as a preparatory student along with siblings, Carrie, a senior, and preps Walter and Frank.[8:121]

b. Dean Memorial Pergola was built in 1930 with funds from 1880 alumna Carrie Dean in honor of her parents.

c. Arthur is casual with the dates here, listing associations in numbers of years rather than by giving dates.[4:5]

d. He worked with the Boston firm on their new construction in Chicago.[4:5]

e. Neither of the Deans were listed in 1880, 1885, or 1892 Chicago directories.[13]


1. Harold Allen Brooks, The Prairie School (Norton, 1996), 27-44, 56-63, 336-352.

2. James Herbert Kelley, ed. The Alumni Record of the University of Illinois. (Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois, 1913): 696. Accessed February 20, 2019 through Google Books,

3. Abbot M. Dean, “Summary of Dean Family History” TS. Copy in Doane College Archives.

4. Dean, Arthur Randall, “Life of Arthur Randall Dean,” TS. (July 1933): 7pp. Copy in Doane College Archives.

5. “Doane College Notes: George R. Dean obituary,” The Vidette-Herald (December 18, 1919): 5:1-2. Copy in Doane College Archives.

6. “George Robinson Dean” My Jacob Family. Accessed October 10, 2019 via

7. Henry F. Withey & Elsie Rathburn Withey, “Dean, George S.” Biographical dictionary of American Architects (deceased) (Los Angeles, New Age Pub. Co.: c. 1956).

8. “Dean Family [RG4194.AM]” History Nebraska. Accessed October 15, 2019 via

9. “Old Grad Speaks Up,” The Crete News (July 30, 1931) Copy in Doane College Archives.

10. “Wholesome Advertising for Crete,” The Crete News (July 2, 1931): 1. Copy in Doane College Archives.

11. “Doane College News,” The Crete News (April 30, 1931). Copy in Doane College Archives.

12. “George Robinson Dean” Accessed October 15, 2019 via

13. “Streets & Directories” Accessed October 17, 2019 via

14., “Arthur Randall Dean” Obituary Index, 1800s-current [database on-line]. (Lehi, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2019.) Accessed October 24, 2019.

15. Janet Jeffries, “Dean Family Tree” (Lehi, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2019.) Accessed October 24, 2019 via

16. ”Doane College News,” The Crete Vidette (July 17, 1919): 8.

17. "Map of Doane College Campus, Crete, Nebraska." (June 30, 1927; Revised January 20, 1928). Copy in Doane College Archives.

18. Janet Jeffries, “Smith Hall, Doane College: Historical Overview,” Broadsheet, September 2011.

19. Janet Jeffries, “Dean Memorial Pergola,” TS. (April, 2007)

20. George R. Dean, “Progress before Precedent,” The Brickbuilder 9:4 (April 1900), 91-97. Accessed January 19, 2019 via

21. Liz Dean to Penny Chatfield, manuscript (April 1, 1978), in NSHS file.

22. “Obituary (George R. Dean),” American Architect 116:2 (1919): 821.

23. Dean, Frank W. “Pioneering in Nebraska, 1872-79: A Reminiscence,” Nebraska History 36:2 (June, 1956): 105-121.

24. Perry, Thomas Doane, ed. History of Doane College, 1872-1912. (1957: Doane College, Crete, Nebraska): 20-89.

25. United States Bureau of Education, Education in Nebraska Circular of Information (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1902): 212.

26. “Doane University: Greatness on the Great Plains” Doane University website. Accessed November 19, 2019 via

Other Sources

1. “A Novel College Chapter-House” The Architectural Record Vol. 18 (September 1905), 211-216.

2. Russell Sturgis, “The Whittemore Building” The Architectural Record Vol. 17 (June 1905), 516-517.

3. The Architectural Record Vol. 46 (December 1919), 542-543.


We gratefully acknowledge Janet Jeffries, cultural historian of past architects at Doane College, for sharing her extensive research on the Dean family for the Dean pages.

Page Citation

D. Murphy and Lydia Allen, “Dean & Dean, Architects,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, November 26, 2019. Accessed, March 1, 2021.

Contact the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office with questions or comments concerning this page, including any problems you may have with broken links (see, however, the Disclaimers link at the bottom of this page). Please provide the URL to this page with your inquiry.