Joseph G. McArthur (1887-1934), Architect
DBA: J. G. McArthur, Architect
Joseph G. McArthur was born December 2, 1887 in Evanston, Illinois. His Scottish-born father William was a builder; his mother Mary was English.11] He came to Lincoln as superintendent of the construction of the Terminal Building in 1915-1916, on behalf of Paul V. Hyland of Chicago. He remained in Lincoln a few years, working both in association with Hyland and independently as an architect, before moving to Omaha by 1918, where he practiced independently. He married Ruth in 1913[k]. They had two daughters, Joan and Helen, and a son, Jack. Joseph McArthur died in 1934.[e]
Compiled Nebraska Directory Listings
Lincoln, Nebraska, 1916-1917
Omaha, Nebraska, 1920-1921, 1923, 1925-1926, 1928-1929, 1931-1932
Educational & Professional Associations
1910: Architectural draftsman, Chicago.[e]
1918-1932: J. G. McArthur, Architect, Omaha, Nebraska.
1928-1931: employed Harry E. Messick as chief draftsman and superintendent of construction, Omaha.
Buildings & Projects
Herman R. Schroeder house (1912), 2208 Poppleton Ave, Omaha, Nebraska. (DO09:0118-005)
From 1915-1918, Joseph G. McArthur was employed by Paul V. Hyland as his building superintendent and representative in Lincoln, Nebraska, where they carried out major commercial and residential commissions. McArthur began practicing independently in Nebraska, relocating to Omaha by 1918. See Hyland, with McArthur for their Nebraska projects.
After his employment by Hyland, McArthur practiced independently from Omaha, Nebraska for the rest of his life. His commissions were largely concentrated in Omaha and Lincoln and included some of the era's largest commercial buildings in those cities. He also had a project in Colorado and another in Norfolk, Nebraska. McArthur died at age 47 in Omaha.
Auto sales room and garage for J. W. Rice (1920), Norfolk, Nebraska.
Thomas C. Woods House (1921-1922), 2475 Lake, Lincoln, Nebraska. Extant (2018). (LC13:D05-458)
Bert Faulkner House (1922), 2485 Woodscrest Ave., Lincoln, Nebraska. Extant (2018).(LC13:D05-494)
E. J. Faulkner House (1922), 4100 South Street, Lincoln, NE. Extant (2018).(LC13:F06:035)
Cherry Garden Court (1925), 813 S. 38th St, Omaha, Nebraska. (DO09:0315-016)
Yale Apartments (1926), 814 S 38th St., Omaha, Nebraska. (DO09:0315-015)
Sharp Building (1926-1927), 206 S 13th, Lincoln, Nebraska. Extant (2018). (LC13:C08-010)
Paxton Hotel (1928), 1407 Farnam, Omaha, Nebraska.  Extant (2018). (DO09:0123-084)
a. The Lincoln City Directory for 1917 and 1918 list him as architect, and Lincoln representative of Paul V. Hyland, [Chicago, Illinois].
b. Harry Elmer Messick, chief draftsman and superintendant of construction. See Application of Harry Elmer Messick for Registration to Practice Professional Engineering and Architecture, Nebraska State Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Architects, July 30, 1938. Nebraska State Historical Society RG081 SG2.
c. American Contractor of August 30, 1918 describes this as a "Storage Bldg. & Auto Sales Room," estimated to cost $150,000. It fills a quarter of a block in downtown Lincoln, measuring 142x150 feet. Vaughn Construction Company was the contractor.
d. The owner was president of Quaker Petroleum Company; the elegant interior woodwork was crafted in the Chicago millworks owned by Marshall McArthur’s father.
e. The 1900 Census listed Joseph McArthur's father William as a carpenter; in 1910 he was identifed as a builder. In 1910, Joseph was listed as an architectural draftsman, while two of his younger brothers were bricklayers.
f. American Contractor of August 30, 1918 describes this project as a four-story hotel measuring 75x200 feet, to be built of stone, estimated to cost $100,000. The owner is not listed. Harry E. Sidles of Lincoln, one of the owners for whom McArthur built the Nebraska Buick Building in Lincoln, constructed the Troutdale resort hotel on Bear Creek Canyon. Denver Public Library has numerous photos of the hotel in operation in its digital collections. Accessed June 13, 2016, s.v. "Troutdale." https://history.denverlibrary.org/photos
g. American Contractor of September 27, 1919 lists the estimated cost of this facility at $100,000, describing it as two stories and a basement, 150x300 feet. Selden Breck Construction Co. received the general contract.
h. American Contractor of July 26, 1919 listed the estimated cost of this "Warehouse & Salesroom" at $80,000.
i. Huff was among the principals of the Nebraska Buick Company, for which McArthur designed a large sales room and garage at 13th & Q in Lincoln and for which McArthur superintended construction of a similar, smaller facility in Omaha designed by Paul V. Hyland.
j. Omaha's Medical Arts Building was initiated in the early 1920s by doctors and dentists to provide medical offices. Thomas R. Kimball and John & Alan McDonald were the original architects of the 17-story, U-shaped tower at 17th & Dodge Streets. Construction halted after the steel frame was erected, which stood rusting for three years. After a sheriff's sale and additional litigation, Selden-Breck Construction Co., the original builders, completed the structure in 1925 and 1926. The east wing was reduced to four stories, producing an L-shaped structure. According to an front-page story in Omaha World-Herald of August 27, 1925, "Architects for the completed building are William Spencer Crosby, Chicago, and J. G. McArthur, Omaha." See also "Architects to appeal Medical Arts Decision," Omaha World-Herald (May 28, 1925), 1; and "Excavating for Medical Arts," Omaha World-Herald (January 25, 1920), 16.
k. Joseph G. McArthur married Ruth Brown in Chicago on September 18, 1913. She was 21; he was 26.
1. Omaha World Herald (June 23, 1929) (photo; article also says he designed the Sharp Bldg).
2. Omaha World Herald (November 16, 1930), 6D (photo).
3. Nebraska State Journal (January 16, 1927), 5G. [listed as J H McArthur, Lincoln]
4. “Obituary,” Omaha World Herald (April 10, 1934), 1.
5. Landmarks, Inc., An Inventory of Historic Omaha Buildings (Omaha: Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission, 1980).
6. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
7. City of Omaha Planning Department, Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission, Database, Query on Architects, May 20, 2002; courtesy of Lynn Meyer, Preservation Planner.
8. Michigan Architect and Engineer IV:2 (February 1922); adv. of Ceco Concrete Engineering Company, Detroit, Michigan, 13, accessed June 7, 2012 through Google Books, http://books.google.com/books?id=xMjlAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA8-IA77&lpg=PA8-IA77&dq=%22joseph+g+mcarthur%22+architect&source=bl&ots=h2Q42zItNd&sig=tHxhReYyEdXpB-DAl4V80JSCclM&hl=en#v=onepage&q=%22joseph%20g%20mcarthur%22&f=false
9. Landmarks Candle Light Home Tour (brochure), Sunday, December 9, 1990. Online at http://www.omahalandmarks.org/assets/files/SCN_0009.pdf Accessed June 7, 2012.
10. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
11. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
12. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
13. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
14. American Contractor (August 30, 1918), 58.
15. American Contractor (September 27, 1919), 60.
16. American Contractor (July 26, 1919), 39; (September 20, 1919), 60H.
17. American Contractor (September 6, 1919), 60D.
18. American Contractor (May 15, 1920), 75.
19. American Contractor (December 21, 1921), 65.
20. "'Dodge Building' New Name of Medical Arts," Omaha World-Herald (August 27, 1925), 1.
21. City of Lincoln Building Permit #10143 (and application), 1922, $25,000.
22. City of Lincoln Building Permit #10316 (and application), 1922, $10,000.
23. Vanita G. Cosper, "Faded Lady: The Story of Troutdale-in-the-Pines," in Historically Jeffco, (Jefferson County [Colorado] Preservation Commission, Winter 1993, 6:2), 4-13. Accessed June 13, 2016. http://jeffco.us/planning-and-zoning/historical-commission/publications/ and https://historicjeffco.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/fadedlady1993cosper.pdf
24. Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
25. City of Lincoln Building Permit #9557 (and application), December 8, 1921, $24,000.
E. F. Zimmer, “Joseph G. McArthur (1887-1934), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, November 2, 2019. http://www.e-nebraskahistory.org/index.php?title=Place_Makers_of_Nebraska:_The_Architects Accessed, December 8, 2022.
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