Monday March 17th, 2014 was the 164th birthday of Mississippi’s New Capitol architect, Theodore C. Link. The biographical portrait that follows was published when Mr. Link was 56 years old and surprisingly does not mention his work in Mississippi.
Theodore C. Link. Architect. Born March 1 7, 1850, near Heidelberg, Germany. Son of Karl and Louise (Schneider) Link. His scholastic education was obtained in part at Heidelberg, in part at London, England, and he studied architecture and engineering at the Ecole Centrale, of Paris, France. Came to this country when he was twenty years of age; for three years thereafter practiced his profession in New York and Philadelphia, except one year was employed by the Texas Pacific Railroad Company at Sherman, Houston and Jefferson, Texas. Came to St. Louis in 1873 as an attache of the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad Company. Soon after coming to St. Louis he quit his position and became assistant chief engineer at Forest Park; later appointed superintendent of the public parks of the city, holding this position until in 1876. After that he practiced his profession in Pittsburg, Philadelphia and New York until 1883, when he returned to St. Louis and opened an architect’s office of his own. He has designed and superintended the construction of many handsome buildings in St. Louis and neighboring cities. Among them we may mention that he was one of the architects who submitted designs for the union station in St. Louis, and the plan submitted to the board by Mr. Link was approved of and the construction of the building in accordance with his designs was committed to his charge. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, and a member of the Architectural League of New York, and has served two terms as president of the Missouri State Association of Architects. Is a member of the St. Louis Club. September 22, 1875, Mr. Link married Miss Annie Fuller, of Detroit, Mich. Their children are Carl Eugene, Edwin Carey and Clarence Vincent. Business address, 308 North Sixth street, St. Louis, Missouri. ~The Book of Missourians
I found several publications that mention Link practicing architecture with his son Karl (sometimes anglicized as Carl) and the MDAH HRI database states that Edwin practiced architecture with his father also. Karl must have died rather young causing the c1912 dissolution of the firm Theodore Link & Son that had only started in 1910 (The Brickbuilder p.20). Karl was not mentioned surviving his father in the Sr. Link’s January 1924 obituary
In the same year as the above biography was published (1906) Link had been hired by the Arkansas State Capitol Commission to review the work completed to date of said building. In a 1907 testimony made before the Arkansas legislature Link gives insight to some of his work on Mississippi’s State House. Link comes across as a professional who has a thorough understanding of methods and materials, even if he was plagued by the pesky Pearl River.
In building the Mississippi State House I took unusual precautions, more than on the Union Station, in St. Louis, I used the same cement [Meier’s Puzzelano cement], the contractors were cautioned about being very careful, and after it was up there was spaces there that were as brown as Judge Oldham’s stockings. (The stockings referred to were a nut brown.) Of course, it was a great disappointment, we could not account for it. We tried to blame it on the sand that was used. We used Pearl River sand; and also the water, we used Pearl River water, I tried to get the makers to give me a reason but have never had any satisfactory explanation as to the two buildings where we used entirely the same materials. The stains have entirely disappeared. The stains remained longer on the northern corners, where the sun could not get to them. So that you see you cannot always tell what things will do. There may have been some little chemical composition in there that we did not use in St. Louis that caused that.
The whole of the Arkansas House of Representatives 36 Session Journal in regards to the capitol building’s construction is interesting and included Link giving his opinion on Mann’s original dome design for the Arkansas State House.
So scout out a piece of black forest cake to enjoy in honor of the birth of the architect who created the most imposing public building in our state!
Theodore C. Link. The Book of Missourians. Edited by M L Van Nana. Published by T. J. Steele & Co. Chicago, St. Louis 1906 p. 154
Journal of the House of Representatives of Arkansas Thirty-Sixth Regular Session. Published by the SENTINEL-RECORD Hot Springs, Ark. 1907
The New Wabash Depot at Pittsburg. Fireproof Magazine, Vol 5 No. 4. Published by Fireproof Publishing Company. October 1904 p. 11
“In General”. The Brickbuilder, Vol 19 No. 1 Published by Rogers & Manson January 1910 p. 20
Obituary of Theodore C. Link. Journal of the American Institute of Architects Vol. XII No. 1. Published by The Press of the American Institute of Architects, Inc. January 1924 p. 44