Mail Order Mississippi: George F. Barber, Archt.

George F Barber from Tennesseans, 1902. The Speed Publishing Company, 1901-1902. from the Knox County Public Library Calvin M. McClung Digital Collection accessed 7/28/15

George F Barber from Tennesseans, 1902. The Speed Publishing Company, 1901-1902. from the Knox County Public Library Calvin M. McClung Digital Collection accessed 7/28/15

George Franklin Barber was a successful architect known for his mail order plan business.  He was widely published in his time and he extensively advertised his plan books and services. His Victorian couture designs can be seen all over Mississippi, and there are probably plenty of undocumented buildings throughout our state that can be credited to Mr. Barber.  Here is what the MDAH HRI has to say about him.

Born near Fort Scott, Kansas, but moved in 1884 to DeKalb, IL, where he practiced as Barber & Boardman, contractors and builders. Moved again in 1888, to Knoxville, where he formed the partnership Barber & Parmelee (with MARTIN E. PARMELEE) in 1888, Barber, Parmelee, & Linden in 1889, and Barber & Mould in 1890. For much of the rest of his career, he practiced as George F. Barber & Co, filling an entire floor of a downtown building with draftsmen. From 1902-1907, he formed a partnership with THOMAS A. KLUTTZ as BARBER & KLUTTZ and from 1908-1912, he operated as Barber & Ryno. He achieved his greatest success through frequent publications advertising his plans for houses: The Cottage Souvenir (beginning about 1888), Artistic Homes, How to Plan and How to Build Them (1894), and Modern Dwellings (1901-1907) were three of his numerous publications. Son Charles I. Barber continued the practice. See Herndon, Architects in Tennessee, p. 12.

Having published at least eight books and sending them to all corners, the reach of Barber’s designs is documented on Wikipedia extending to 44 US States and several Canadian Provinces.  Below are some from images from the MDAH HRI database of the 16 Barber Documented or Attributed designs here in Mississippi.

Barber and Kluttz are not two words that you might want to see together in the modern lexicon, but the firm of George F. Barber and Thomas A. Kluttz produced some very handsome early 20th century Colonial Revival Homes in the booming lumber town that was Hattiesburg.  Below are some images from the MDAH HRI database of the 6 Barber and Kluttz Documented or Attributed designs.

The Knox County Public Library Calvin M. McClung Digital Collection has a good collection of Barber’s publications that are worth perusing. Maybe you have a George Barber design in your neck of Mississippi?  If you know any more about Barbers work in Mississippi let us know.  Do you have a favorite of Barber’s designs?



Categories: Architectural Research, Historic Preservation

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3 replies

  1. The Keyhole House in Natchez is one of my favorites. Who but the Victorians would have considered such a concoction?

    Like

  2. I would not rule out living in any of them!

    Liked by 1 person

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