Several weeks ago I posted the Mississippi State yearbook photo of N.W. Overstreet. It provided a bookend to the 1970 image of Architects Naef, Gates, Matthes, and Overstreet as old men. Finding that Overstreet photo prompted me to search for images of the other three as young men. I turned to the MDAH HRI database to begin my quest. I learned that:
- Frank P. Gates attended Chicago Technical College, that while it did have a physical location also did a thriving business in correspondence education. He graduated in 1916 with a diploma in Architectural Engineering. Not an institution that would sell many yearbooks.
- Carl E. Matthes Sr. attended R.T. Grape Technical School which was possibly one of Chicago’s vocational high schools. His college education was listed as attending the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design in Chicago for three years. I had difficulty finding anything about either of these two institutions.
- Robert W. Naef received a degree in Architectural Engineering from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1923. Definitely a yearbook issuing institution.
There he was in the 1924 Illio, Vol. 30. Still recognizable as the man in 1950 and 1970 images. The nickname “Ding” I imagine is a play on words of his birthplace Whiting, Indiana. “Gargoyle” was the name of the Honorary Architectural Fraternity, Sigma Tau was the Honorary Engineering Fraternity, and Scarab was the Professional Architectural Fraternity. To my pleasure I learned that the Architectural Society -of which Naef was on the Executive Committee- put out their own yearbook. Featured in the Architectural Yearbook are renderings and construction documents completed during the course of the years courses. The images were selected on merit by the yearbook staff and Department of Architecture faculty. The yearbook committee selected a Structural Steel Design of Naef’s for inclusion in the Architectural Yearbook. Looking back it might have not been a surprise that he spent much of his career on the engineering side of the architecture business. It would be interesting to compare his structural design from the year book with some of his Mississippi work as a Professional.
While not as jovial as Overstreets yearbook entry, this staid description creates a second portrait in addition to the photograph. One of a man who loved his profession.