William Roy Morton (1899-1961), Architect

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Lincoln, Nebraska, 1924-1936

William Roy Morton was born in Wisconsin in 1899 to Aranthus and Lena Morton. His father was listed as a painter and paperhanger in Ellsworth, Pierce County, Wisconsin in 1900. His mother was identified as of Russian birth in 1900 but as Finnish in 1910, when the family lived in Oelwein, Fayette County, Iowa. [1][2] William married Daisy Gladys Miner in Omaha in September 1917, during his enlistment in the U.S. Army as a member of the First Balloon Squadron, based at Fort Omaha.[3][4][5][7][a][b] They had a son, Burdette, in 1918. William worked as a printer in Douglas, Otoe County, Nebraska (1920) and in Denver (1923)[6][8]. By 1924 the family returned to Lincoln, Nebraska, where William worked as a draftsman for architects Miller & Craig and Meginnis & Schaumberg. Although Morton was not listed as an independent practitioner until 1931, he was identified as the architect on building permits for several houses in 1929 and 1930. From 1931 to 1933, he was architect for Sweeney & Company, a house-building enterprise, then returned to independent practice from 1934-1936.[9][29]

The family relocated to Los Angeles by 1940, where William was again working as an architectural draftsman, with four children in the household.[10] William Morton died in 1961 and was interred in Los Angeles National Cemetery.[4] Daisy Morton died in 1969.[11] Their eldest son Burdette R. Morton (1918-1976) established himself as an artist in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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

Lincoln, Nebraska, 1918, 1923-1936.

Educational & Professional Associations

1925: draftsman, Miller & Craig, Lincoln, Nebraska.[9]

1927-1930: draftsman, Meginnis & Schaumberg, Lincoln, Nebraska.[9]

1931: architect, Lincoln, Nebraska.[9]

1931-1933: architect, Sweeney & Company (house-builders), Lincoln, Nebraska.[9][29]

1934-1936: architect, Lincoln, Nebraska.[9]

1940-1961: draftsman, Los Angeles, California.[10]

Buildings & Projects

W. H. Stalons house and garage (1929), 3333 East Pershing Road, Lincoln, Nebraska.[12][13][c]

Flynn house and garage (1929), 3343 East Pershing Road, Lincoln, Nebraska.[12][14][c]

L. P. Hansen house and garage (1929), 3450 Woodsshire Parkway, Lincoln, Nebraska.[12][15][c]

Elmer & Maxine Brisack house (1930), 3002 South 26th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.[23][24]

H. O. Porter house (1930), 1635 Cheyenne, Lincoln, Nebraska.[25]

Project (unbuilt) for house and garage (1930), planned for 1900 Kings Highway (Woodsshire), Lincoln, Nebraska.[16][d]

Project (unbuilt) for house and garage (1930), planned for 3240 Woodsshire Parkway, Lincoln, Nebraska.[17][d]

Project (unbuilt) for house (1930), planned for 2835 Woodsdale Boulevard, Lincoln, Nebraska.[18][d]

Project (unbuilt) for house (1930), planned for 2921 Jackson Drive, Lincoln, Nebraska.[19][d]

Frederick & Eugenia Patz house (1930), 3000 Woodsdale Boulevard, Lincoln, Nebraska.[23][26]

Earle & Eugenia Burnett house (1930), 3016 Woodsdale Boulevard, Lincoln, Nebraska.[23][27]

Eager House (1930), 3422 Grimsby Lane (Woodsshire), Lincoln, Nebraska.[12][20][d]

Louis & Edith Latman House (1930), 2838 Jackson Drive, Lincoln, Nebraska.[21][23][d]

1931-1933 (Lincoln, Nebraska)

Morton was listed as an architect, employed by house-builders Sweeney & Company, in the Lincoln city directories of 1932 and 1933. The Crist house (below) is evidence that Morton was working for Sweeney by 1931.[9][28][e]

E. R. Crist house (1931), 2616 Woodsdale Boulevard, Lincoln, Nebraska.[29][30[f]

Notes

a. Daisy was 17 and William was 18 when they married, although a listing of marriage licenses in the World Herald newspaper gave their ages as 18 and 21, respectively.[3]

b. According to the "Application for Headstone or Marker" for Morton's grave, he enlisted April 19, 1917 and was honorably discharged November 6, 1917, serving as a private in the "1st Balloon Sqdrn, ASSC."[4]

c. Four building permits were issued on September 7, 1929 for a pair of houses and associated garages in the "Woodsshire Residential Park." W. H. Stalons was listed as owner on all four permits, E. L. Lowell as contractor, and "Wm. Morton" as architect. On September 30, 1929, another pair of permits were issued for a Woodsshire house and its garage, with "Morton" as the architect, contractor William Scharff, and owner L. P. Hansen. The houses are not identical but all three houses are Tudor Revival in style and are built of brick with stone and wood trim.

d. On June 5, 1930, Todd A. Doran as owner obtained a dozen building permits for eight residences and several accompanying garages, with E. L. Lowell as contractor and "W. H. [sic] Morton" as architect for the houses. Only half of the houses were built, and in those cases the properties were awash in dozens of mechanics liens filed by unpaid subcontractors, including Morton. Doran filed suits against National Surety Company which held bonds for Lowell's completion of the projects. The Nebraska Supreme Court ultimately decided the case against Doran, sustaining a jury's finding that there was sufficient evidence that Doran had failed to make progress payments to Lowell, as agreed. The surety company's defense had argued that Doran entered into the contracts in bad faith, in order to sue for the bond payments.[22]

e. Lincoln Evening Journal, in 1926, published a photo of W. F. (Bill) Sweeney and announced his formation of "Sweeney & Co." to "do general real estate business, engage in sub-division and construction work and handle real estate loans and investments." The brief piece noted further that "Mr. Sweeney has been in the real estate business in Lincoln for six years, formerly being associated with Woods Bros. Co."[28]

f. Lincoln State Journal in 1931 captioned an elevation sketch of "New Home of E. R. Crist" with a note "New English brick story and a half home being constructed at 2630 Woodsdale by Sweeney & Co. for E. R. Crist....W. R. Martin [sic] was the architect." In the Lincoln city directories of 1932 and 1933, W. R. Morton was listed as an architect employed by Sweeney & Co. "W. R. Martin" is almost certainly a misspelling of W. R. Morton." The house was constructed at 2616 Woodsdale, according to both the Lancaster County Register of Deeds and the close resemblance of that extant house (2019) and the 1931 newspaper illustration.(EFZ)[29][30]

References

1. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line], s.v. "William R. Morton." Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.

2. Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line], s.v. "William R. Morton." Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.

3. "Marriage Licenses," Evening World-Herald (Omaha, Nebraska) (September 8, 1917), 8.

4. "Honor Roll" (new enlistments), Evening World-Herald (Omaha, Nebraska) (April 10, 1917), 1; Ancestry.com. U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 [database on-line], s.v. "William R. Morton." Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

5. "Fort Omaha Balloon School: Its Role in World War I," Nebraska History (Spring 1988), 69:1, 2-10; accessed March 9, 2019, on-line at https://history.nebraska.gov/sites/history.nebraska.gov/files/doc/publications/NH1988BalloonSchool.pdf

6. Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line], s.v. "Daisy Morton." Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

7. Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line], s.v. "William Roy Martin." Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.

8. Denver city directory, 1923.

9. Lincoln city directories.

10. Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line], s.v. "Daisy Morton." Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

11. Find A Grave database on-line, s.v. "Daisy G. Morton," accessed March 9, 2019 at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/80899061

12. Within the Woodsshire Residential Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.

13. City of Lincoln Building Permits 19021 and 19022, issued September 7, 1929, estimated cost: $7,500 (house), $200 (garage).

14. City of Lincoln Building Permits 19023 and 19024, issued September 7, 1929, estimated cost: $7,500 (house), $200 (garage).

15. City of Lincoln Building Permits 19094 and 19096, issued September 30, 1929, estimated cost: $6,900 (house), $350 (garage).

16. City of Lincoln Building Permits 19542 and 19543, issued June 5, 1930, estimated cost: $5,000 (house).

17. City of Lincoln Building Permits 19544 and 19545, issued June 5, 1930, estimated cost: $4,500 (house).

18. City of Lincoln Building Permit 19546, issued June 5, 1930, estimated cost: $5,500 (house).

19. City of Lincoln Building Permit 19547, issued June 5, 1930, estimated cost: $5,000 (house).

20. City of Lincoln Building Permit 19552, issued June 5, 1930, estimated cost: $5,500 (house).

21. City of Lincoln Building Permit 19553, issued June 5, 1930, estimated cost: $5,500 (house).

22. "Two Suits Over Contract--Building Agreement of $47,000 Figures in Trial in Chappell's Court," Lincoln (Nebraska) Evening Journal (October 15, 1931), 4; and Supreme Court ruling included in "Mere Mention," Lincoln (Nebraska) Evening Journal (September 22, 1933), 8.

23. Within the Boulevards Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

24. City of Lincoln Building Permits 19328 and 19330, issued March 6, 1930, estimated cost: $4,500 (house), $150 (garage).

25. City of Lincoln Building Permit 19330, issued March 6, 1930, estimated cost: $3,200.

26. City of Lincoln Building Permits 19549 and 19550, issued June 5, 1930, estimated cost: $5,000 (house), $500 (garage).

27. City of Lincoln Building Permit 19551, issued June 5, 1930, estimated cost: $5,500.

28. "Realtor Here" (announcement of formation of Sweeney & Co.), Lincoln (Nebraska) State Journal (May 10, 1926), 8.

29. "New Home of E. R. Crist," Lincoln (Nebraska) State Journal (April 19, 1931), B-16 (with elevation sketch).

30. Lancaster County deeds 290:200, 563, 564 (between Sweeney & Crist, 1931).

Page Citation

E. F. Zimmer, “William Roy Morton (1899-1961), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, March 31, 2019. http://www.e-nebraskahistory.org/index.php?title=Place_Makers_of_Nebraska:_The_Architects Accessed, October 14, 2019.


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