Henry Collier Cooke (1852-1920), Architect

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Council Bluffs, Iowa & Omaha, Nebraska, 1889-1891; Galveston, Texas, 1892-1899; Houston, Texas, 1900-1920

D.B.A. H. C. Cooke, architect; H. C. Cooke & Co., Architects; Cooke & Company, Architects

Henry Collier Cooke was born in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England, April 22, 1852. He immigrated to the U. S. around 1889 with his wife Elizabeth and their three sons and a daughter.[2] "Harry [sic] C." Cooke was listed in the 1890 Omaha directory as a resident of Council Bluffs, Iowa, employed in the office of architect F. M. Ellis of Omaha.[3] Cooke left the Ellis practice and joined S. E. Maxon and Louis Bourgeois in August 1890 as Maxon, Bourgeois & Cooke, a short-lived architectural firm that practiced in Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa.[6] In 1891, a partnership of Bourgeois, Nitchner & Cooke was listed in the Galveston, Texas city directory as having offices in Nebraska and Texas. By 1892, Cooke was practicing in Galveston, Texas. In 1900 the family resided in Navarro, Texas, between Dallas and Houston. For the next two decades, Henry Cooke lived and practiced architecture in Houston, along with his son William A. Cooke.[2][4][5][11] An account of his firm published in a Houston newspaper in 1910 credited him with six years of study in England's "best technical schools" followed by study in Italy.[10] He died in Mineral Wells, Palo Pinto County, Texas, May 17, 1920.[1][15][c]

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.

Compiled Nebraska Directory Listings

Omaha, Nebraska, 1890

Educational & Professional Associations

1890: architect with F. M. Ellis & Co., Omaha

1890: architect & partner with Maxon, Bourgeois & Cooke, Omaha, Nebraska & Council Bluffs, Iowa

1891: architect with Bourgeios, Nitchner & Cooke, Omaha, Nebraska & Galveston, Texas

1892-ca. 1899: architect with H. C. Cooke & Co., Galveston, Texas

1900-1920: architect with H. C. Cooke & Co., Houston, Texas, with branch office in Galveston

Other Associations

1900-1920: Son William Arthur Cooke (1877-1929) practiced as an architect with H. C. Cooke & Company, Houston, Texas[2][11]

Architect for Houston Land Corporation (1919), designing houses in Montrose development, Houston, Texas.[14]

Buildings & Projects


SEE Maxon, Bourgeois & Cooke for Omaha projects of 1890 produced by Cooke's partnership.


Designs and specifications for "a Three Story Hotel, Bank and Three Stores, Twelve Two Story Residences, a Church and School combined, a Depot and a Wooden Ware Factory" (1892), North Galveston, Texas.[7]

Thomas E. Bailey house (1893), 1805 Broadway, Galveston, Texas.[16]

Thalian Clubhouse (1904), Houston, Texas.[12]

Rice Hotel (1907), Houston, Texas.[13]

===Undated Texas Projects===[c]

Central fire station (n.d.), Houston, Texas.[15]

Macatee hotel (n.d.), Houston, Texas.[15]

Beatty building (n.d.), Houston, Texas.[15]

Magnolia Dairy Products' company building (n.d.), Houston, Texas.[15]


a. Cooke's date of immigration is unclear. The 1920 U. S. Census lists 1888; while the 1900 and 1910 censuses name 1890 as his date of arrival. A "Cook Harry, architect" was listed in the 1889 City directory for Council Bluffs, Iowa, and by 1890 the Omaha city directory listed Cooke, Harry C. as a resident of Council Bluffs, in the office of Omaha architect F. M. Ellis.

b. A notice in an Omaha newspaper in August 1890 announced that "Notice is hereby given that the firm heretofore known as F. M. Ellis & Co. has been dissolved by Retirement of H. C. Cooke. All business pertaining to said firm will be transacted by the remaining partners, F. M. Ellis and J. H. Kent, and all indebtedness owing said firm will be paid to them. They will continue the business at the old offices."[8] Apparently the Methodist Church project was among the reasons for the firm's dissolution. In late January and early February 1891, the Omaha Bee reported difficulties between Ellis and the building committee and between Ellis and Cooke, which were resolved when the plans were returned to Ellis.[9]

c. Cooke's obituary in the Houston Post noted "Mr. Cooke designed many public buildings in Houston, including the Central fire station, the Macatee hotel, The Beatty building and the Magnolia Dairy Products' company building. He was 69 years of age, having been a resident of Houston for 18 years."[15]


1. Ancestry.com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line], s. v. "Henry C. Cooke" & "architect." Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

2. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line], s. v. "Henry C. Cooke" & architect & spouse "Elizabeth." Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.

3. Omaha City Directory, 1890, listed "Cooke Harry [sic] C (F M Ellis & Co) res C B Ia."

4. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line], s. v. "H. C. Cook" & "architect." Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.

5. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line], s. v. "Henry C. Cooke" & architect. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

6. "Maxon, Bourgeois & Cooke," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (August 11, 1890), 6.

7. "To Contractors" (call for separate bids on several buildings), Galveston (Texas) Daily News (June 6, 1892), 3.

8. "Dissolution Notice," Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee (August 14, 1890), 6.

9. In Omaha (Nebraska) Daily Bee: "Fighting for Church Plans," (January 27, 1891), 3; "The Church Architects," (January 28, 1891), 3; "Minor Mention," (February 6, 1891), 3.

10. "Cooke and Company, Reliable Architects--Many Buildings in Houston Attest Their Genius in Architectural Work," Houston (Texas) Post (April 5, 1910), III-3.

11. Houston city directories.

12. "Thalian Club's New House," Houston (Texas) Post (April 17, 1904), 28 (illustrated with perspective drawing).

13. "Pushing the Work--The Rice Hotel Will Be a Beauty--The Lobby Will Be Twice the Original Size--An Elaborate Finish Throughout," Houston (Texas) Post (April 7, 1907), 17.

14. "Montrose Building Proposition," advertisement for Houston Land Corporation, Houston (Texas) Post (March 2, 1919), 22.

15. "Prominent Architect Dies at Mineral Wells," Houston (Texas) Post (May 18, 1920), 9.

16. Ellen Beasley and Stephen Fox, Galveston Architectural Guidebook (Rice University Press: Houston, Texas, 1996), 114.

Page Citation

E. F. Zimmer & D. Murphy, “Henry Collier Cooke (1852-1920), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, August 12, 2020. http://www.e-nebraskahistory.org/index.php?title=Place_Makers_of_Nebraska:_The_Architects Accessed, December 3, 2023.

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