Isaac Hodgson (1826-1909), Architect

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Indianapolis, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Omaha, Nebraska; Denver, Colorado

Isaac Hodgson was born December 16, 1826 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, to Jackson and Eliza Jackson Hodgson. One of eleven children, at the age of sixteen he went to London where he studied architecture at the Royal Academy, and for three years, under the tutelage of Charles Lanyard, a well-known architect. He immigrated to America in 1848, and after a short stay in New York, where he had family, he headed west to Decatur, Indiana. He worked in architecture there, and met and married Mary Ann Edwards. After two years he removed to Louisville, Kentucky to assist with the construction of government buildings there, then settled in Indianapolis, where in 1855 he advertised himself as "Architect and Superintendent." After being employed as Superintendent of Construction on buildings of the U.S. Arsenal, he was commissioned to design his first public building in 1857, the County Court House at Covington, Kentucky.[1][17][29]

One of the early architects of Indiana, Isaac Hodgson established his prominent career first in Indiana, where he designed a number of courthouses from 1857-1877, then, beginning in the early 1880s, in Minneapolis.[1][17][29] By the time he moved to Minneapolis he had taken his son, Isaac Hodgson, Jr. as a partner in the firm of Hodgson & Son, Architects. In 1887 the firm established an office in Omaha, and from then until 1892 designed a number of prominent buildings there.

Little is known of ‘’’Hodgson’s’’’ career after the financial crisis of the early 1890s. That period seems to have been one of transition for the architect, following the opening of the Omaha office. His son, Isaac, Jr., traveled between practices in Omaha and Portland, Oregon, during that period, and Isaac is credited with work in Denver, Colorado at the same time. He is reported to have partnered with John H. Stem (1847-1910), Architect, of Indianapolis, Indiana, and separately with Charles A. Wallingford, Architect, in the 1880s.[16] Other sources, however, but without dates, give a Hodgson & Stem partnership in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a separate Hodgson & Wallingford partnership, also in St. Paul, Minnesota. The latter partnership was liquidated in 1896.[25][29]

Isaac Hodgson was a charter member of the Western Association of Architects, 1884-1885, and then became a member and Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.[3][24:302, 303] He delivered a paper at the third annual convention of the Western Association of Architects entitled, “Hints on a national style of architecture.”[24:303] Hodgson was also instrumental in the founding of the first organization of architects in the West, formed in Minneapolis as the Architectural Association of Minnesota, and served as vice president in 1883.[18][19] He was issued Patent 275,636 in 1883 for his Pneumatic Alarm-Lock for Jails. Hodgson was a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, and was an Episcopalian.[17][29] He died May 17, 1909.[21][29][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.

Educational & Professional Associations

ca. 1845: student, Royal Academy, London, England.[17]

ca. 1845-1848: apprentice architect with Charles Lanyard, Architect, London, England.[1][17]

1848-1849: in architectural practice, Decatur, Indiana.[17]

1849-1855: assistant architect, government building construction, Louisville, Kentucky.[17]

1855-1882: Isaac Hodgson, Architect, Indianapolis, Indiana.[1][17][21]

ca. 1882-1888: architect and partner, Hodgson & Son, Architects, Minneapolis, Minnesota.[12][27]

1887-1892: Hodgson & Son, Architects, Omaha, Nebraska.[b]

After 1891: Hodgson & Stem, Architects, St. Paul, Minnesota.[24]

Before 1896: Hodgson & Wallingford, Architects, St. Paul, Minnesota.[24]

Buildings & Projects


Miami County Courthouse (1856-1858), Peru, Indiana.[9]

Fountain County Courthouse (1856-1859, 1860-1861), Covington, Indiana.[8][22]

Kenton County Courthouse (1857), Covington, Kentucky.[1]

Jennings County Courthouse (1857-1861), Vernon, Indiana.[8][22]

Morgan County Courthouse (1857-1859), Martinsville, Indiana.[3][8][10][22]

Henry County Courthouse (1865-1869), Newcastle, Indiana.[3][5][8][22]

Wayne County Warden’s House aka Masonic Hall (1867), northwest corner Main & 5th, Centerville, Indiana.[17]

Marion County Courthouse (1869-1876; demolished 1962), Indianapolis, Indiana.[8][17][21][22][29]

Bartholomew County Courthouse (1871-1874), Columbus, Indiana.[4][6][8][22]

Indiana Female Reformatory (1873), Indianapolis, Indiana.[22][29]

Terra Haute School of Industrial Science aka Rose Polytechnic Institute (1875), Terra Haute, Indiana.[11][17][22][29]

Minneapolis Industrial Exposition Building (1886; demolished 1893), 2nd St at 3rd Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota.[12][26][a]

McMurtrie-Good mansion (ca. 1890; demolished 1965), southwest corner 10th & Pennsylvania, Denver, Colorado.[15]

Croke-Patterson-Campbell mansion (1891), Denver, Colorado.[13][14][15]


Rose Orphan Asylum (n.d.), Terra Haute, Indiana.[17][29]

Gov. Noble house (n.d.), Market near Pine, Indianapolis, Indiana.[7]

Tipton County Courthouse (n.d.), Indiana.[8]

Hendricks County Courthouse (n.d.), Indiana.[8]


a. Also attributed to Hodgson & Son.[26]

b. According to Omaha city directories, Isaac Hodgson, Jr., was resident in Omaha, 1887-1888, while his father was listed as resident in Minneapolis, Minnesota during those years. Isaac, Jr., continues to be listed as resident from 1889-1892, while Isaac Hodgson, Sr., is listed as resident in Omaha only for the years 1889 and 1892.

c. Another reference disputes the month and date of Hodgson's death in 1909. This newspaper clipping places his death in the previous week in September of 1909.[28]. Thanks to architectural historian Catherine Cramer of Tucson, Arizona for her contribution of this information.


1. Henry F. Withey and Elsie Rathburn Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased) (Los Angeles: New Age Publishing Company, 1956; Facsimile edition, Hennessey & Ingalls, Inc., 1970), 292.

2. John Grant, Glimpses of Omaha (Omaha: D. D. Dunbar, 1888), 50.

3. “Isaac Hodgson, Architect,” archINFORM website, accessed August 15, 2012,

4. “Columbus, Indiana: Architects,” accessed August 16, 2012,

5. “Henry County Courthouse [image],” Indiana Historical Society, CONTENTdm Collection, V0002, accessed August 16, 2012,

6. “Columbus Courthouse,” CCO Commons [figure 27], accessed August 16, 2012, re_27/

7. “History of the Neighborhood,” Holy Cross Neighborhood Association website, accessed August 16, 2012,

8. Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, “Jennings County Courthouse, Vernon, Indiana,”, accessed August 16, 2012,

9. “Old Miami County Court House, Peru, Indiana,” Hoosier Recollections image stream on flickr, accessed August 16, 2012,

10. “Courthouse, Martinsville, Indiana,” CCO Commons, accessed August 16, 2012, [P0391_box10_Morgan_CountyMartinsville]

11. Contract between Chauncey Rose and Isaac Hodgson about overseeing construction of the new academic building, Wabash Valley Visions & Voices: A Digital Memory Project, accessed August 16, 2012,

12. “Symbols on the Skyline,” The Historical Marker Database website, accessed August 16, 2012,

13. “Denver, Capitol Hill Neighborhood, Part 1,”, accessed August 16, 2012,

14. “Colorado’s haunted architecture: Croke Patterson Mansion,”, accessed August 15, 2012,

15. Nancy Foster, with photographs by Jeff Hersch, “A castle on the Hill,” accessed August 15, 2012,

16. Joan Cunningham, “Stem, John H.,” in David H. Bodenhamer and Robert G. Barrows, eds. The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994), 1296, accessed through Google Books, August 16, 2012,

17. “Wayne County Warden’s House (Masonic Hall),” HABS No. IN-105, Historic American Buildings Survey, Written Historical and Descriptive Data, Library of Congress website, accessed August 16, 2012,

18. Robert Craik McLean, “The American Institute of Architects Today,” The Western Architect 23:2 (February 1916), 14, accessed August 16, 2012 through Google Books,

19. American Architect and Building News 13:370 (January 27, 1883), 46, accessed August 16, 2012 through Google Books,

20. American Architect and Building News 13:382 (April 21, 1883), 192, accessed August 16, 2012 through Google Books,

21. Will Counts and Jon Dilts, The 92 Magnificent Indiana Courthouses (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1991), 12-13.

22. Benjamin L. Ross, “Works of Isaac Hodgson, Architect,” Benjamin L. Ross website, last modified February 6, 2011, accessed August 15, 2012,

23. AIA Historical Directory of American Architects: A Resource Guide to Finding Information About Past Architects, accessed May 18, 2010,

24. Industrial Chicago: The Building Interests Vol. 1 (Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1891) accessed August 2, 2012,

25. "Hodgson & Stem," (2015), accessed December 10, 2015, ; and "Hodgson & Wallingford," (2015), accessed December 10, 2015,

26. “Hodgson & Son,” accessed August 16, 2012,,_minneapolis,_united_states

27. See 1888 advertisement at Accessed August 16, 2012.

28. "Architect Dead Who Planned Court House" The Republic (September 3, 1909, Columbus, Indiana), 1. Accessed on September 11, 2018 via

29. A Biographical History of Eminent and Self-made Men of the State of Indiana (Cincinnati, Ohio: Western Biographical Publishing Company, 1880), 94-95. Accessed on GoogleBooks on September 11, 2018 via

Other Sources

Alan K. Lathrop, Minnesota Architects: A Biographical Dictionary (University of Minnesota Press), 103.

Transactions of the Architectural Association of Minnesota No. 1 (1884), accessed August 16, 2012, Not digitized.

Lee Burns, “Early Architects and Builders in Indiana,” Indiana historical Society, 1935.

Federal Writers Project, Guide to Indiana.

A collection of images associated with “Isaac Hodgson” is available at Accessed August 17, 2012.

See “Isaac Hodgson (architect),” at the RTBot-Real Time Information website, accessed August 15, 2012,

Page Citation

D. Murphy, “Isaac Hodgson (1826-1909), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, January 22, 2015. Accessed, December 5, 2022.

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