George B. Post

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George Browne Post
George Browne Post.jpg
6th President of the American Institute of Architects
In office
Preceded by Daniel H. Burnham
Succeeded by Henry Van Brunt
Personal details
Born(1837-12-15)December 15, 1837
Manhattan, New York
DiedNovember 28, 1913(1913-11-28) (aged 75)
Bernardsville, New Jersey
Alice Matilda Stone
(m. after 1863)
ParentsJoel Browne Post
Abby Mauran Church
Alma mater New York University
Signature Signature of George Browne Post.png

George Browne Post (December 15, 1837 November 28, 1913) was an American architect trained in the Beaux-Arts tradition. [1] He was recognized as a master of modern American architecture as well as being instrumental in the birth of the skyscraper. [2]


Many of his most characteristic projects were for commercial buildings where new requirements pushed the traditional boundaries of design. Many of the buildings he designed have been demolished, since their central locations in New York and other cities made them vulnerable to rebuilding in the twentieth century. Some of his lost buildings were regarded as landmarks of their era. He was active from 1869 almost until his death in 1913. His sons, who had been taken into the firm in 1904, continued as George B. Post and Sons through 1930. [3]

Early life & education

Post was born on December 15, 1837 in Manhattan, New York, to Joel Browne Post and Abby Mauran Church. [4] After graduating from New York University in 1858 with a degree in civil engineering, Post became a student of Richard Morris Hunt from 1858 to 1860. In 1860, he formed a partnership with a fellow student in Hunt's office, Charles D. Gambrill, with a brief hiatus for service in the Civil War.


Military service

Post served in the American Civil War under General Brunside at the battle of Fredericksburg and later rose to the rank of Colonel in the New York National Guard. [5]


In 1867, Post founded his own architectural firm which expanded in 1904 when two of his sons, J. Otis and William Stone joined him to form become George B. Post and Sons. [6] [7]

Post served as the sixth president of the American Institute of Architects from 1896 to 1899. He also trained architect Arthur Bates Jennings. [8]

Post designed many of the prominent private homes in various places, with many concentrated in New York City and Bernardsville, NJ. He also designed many prominent commercial and public buildings.

A true member of the American Renaissance, Post engaged notable artists and artisans to add decorative sculpture and murals to his architectural designs. Among those who worked with Post were the sculptor Karl Bitter and painter Elihu Vedder. Post was a founding member of the National Arts Club, serving as the Club's inaugural president from 1898 to 1905. In 1905, his two sons were taken into the partnership, and they continued to lead the firm after Post's death, notably as the designers of many Statler Hotels in cities across the United States. From that time forward, the firm carried on under the stewardship of Post's grandson, Edward Everett Post (1904–2006) [9] until the late twentieth century.[ citation needed ]

Sarah Landau's publication George B. Post, Architect: Picturesque Designer and Determined Realist (1998) inspired a retrospective exhibition in 199899 to revisit Post's work at the Society. In 2014, curator, architect George Ranalli presented an exhibition of Post's drawings and photographs of the design of the City College of New York's main campus buildings, on loan from the New-York Historical Society. [10] [11]

Post received the AIA Gold Medal in 1911. [12] His extensive archive is in the collection at the New-York Historical Society.

Private residences

The Cornelius Vanderbilt II House, which Post designed in partnership with Richard Morris Hunt, was an English Jacobethan Gothic red-brick and limestone chateau that stood at the corner of East 57th Street and Fifth Avenue and was one of the most opulent single-family homes of its time. It featured a lavishly scrolled cast-iron gate forged in Paris (now in Central Park), sculptural reliefs by Karl Bitter (now in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel), an ornate reddish-brown marble fireplace sculpted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art), and elaborate interior decoration by Frederick Kaldenberg, John LaFarge, Philip Martiny, Frederick W. MacMonnies, Rene de Quelin, and Augustus Saint-Gaudens and his brother Julius. The mansion was razed in 1927 for the construction of the Bergdorf Goodman Building at 754 Fifth Avenue. [13] The mansion was photographed by Albert Levy while being built.

Post also designed the palazzo across the street that faced the Vanderbilt Mansion for Collis P. Huntington (188994). In Newport, Rhode Island he built a home for the president of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, C.C. Baldwin, "Chateau-Nooga" or the Baldwin Cottage (187980), a polychromatic exercise in the "Quaint Style" with bargeboards and half-timbering; John La Farge provided stained glass panels.

Post also designed many of the gilded-age mansions found in Bernardsville, NJ and was credited more than anyone with selling wealthy New Yorkers on the idea of establishing a country home in the Somerset Hills. [5] He designed Kenilwood—a grand home built in 1896-1897 as a wedding gift for his daughter—now recognized as one of the two most important examples of Gothic Revival architecture in America. Kenilwood remained in the Post family until it was purchased by Mike Tyson in 1988. [5]

Public buildings

Post also designed more staid public and semi-public structures including the New York Stock Exchange Building, the New York Times Building, [5] the Bronx Borough Hall and the Wisconsin State Capitol.

In 1893, Post was named to the architectural staff of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois by Burnham and Root, [14] where he designed the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building.

In 1894, Post, along with J. Herbert Ballantine, Robert L. Stevens, and Edward T. H. Talmadge each pledged $8,000 to purchase land in Bernardsville, NJ to establish the Somerset Hills Country Club, which, after being built on the banks of Ravine Lake was relocated in 1917 to its present site [5] and includes a golf course designed by A.W. Tillinghast. [15]

Many of Post's design's were landmarks of the era. Post's Equitable Life Building (186870), was the first office building designed to use elevators; Post himself leased the upper floors when contemporaries predicted they could not be rented. [16] His Western Union Telegraph Building (187275) at Dey Street in Lower Manhattan, was the first office building to rise as high as ten stories, a forerunner of skyscrapers to come. When it was erected in "Newspaper Row" facing City Hall Park, Post's twenty-story New York World Building (188990) was the tallest building in New York City.

Personal life

Post married Alice Matilda Stone (1840-1909) on October 14, 1863. Together, they had five children: George Browne, Jr., William Stone, Allison Wright, James Otis and Alice Winifred.

Post died on November 28, 1913 in Bernardsville, New Jersey. [1] [4] He is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York City.

Partial list of works

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  1. 1 2 "Geo. B. Post Dead; Noted Architect. Designer of New York Stock Exchange and Many Famous Buildings Was Almost 76. Planned Vanderbilt Home. Awarded Gold Medal of American Institute of Architects in 1910. Also Honored by France". New York Times . November 29, 1913. George B. Post, founder of the firm of George B. Post Son, architects of 101 Park Avenue and designer of many famous buildings in this city and throughout the ...
  2. Syracuse Then And Now.
  3. "George B.Post and Sons". Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western University. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  4. 1 2 "George B. Post" . Retrieved August 22, 2014. An architect, died November 28, 1913, at his summer home in Bernardsville, New Jersey. He was born December 15, 1837 in New York City. ...
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Schleicher, William A.; Winter, Susan J. (1997). Images of America: In The Somerset Hills, The Landed Gentry. Dover, New Hampshire: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 8, 10, 11. ISBN   0-7524-0899-2.
  6. Landau, Sarah Bradford (1998). George B. Post: Picturesque Designer and Determined Realist. New York, NY.: the Monacelli Press.
  8. "Guide to the Jennings Photograph Collection 1858-1957". The New-York Historical Society. 2003. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  9. "Paid Notice: Deaths
    . New York Times . September 5, 2006. Retrieved August 7, 2008.
  10. Gray, Christopher (January 12, 2014). "Streetscapes: City College -The Very Model of a University". The New York Times. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  11. George Ranalli (2013). City University of New York (ed.). "Building the modern Gothic : George Post at City College" (exh. cat.). New York, NY: CUNY: 53 pages : chiefly illustrations (some color), portraits, plans, facsimiles, 26 cm. OCLC   871036277.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. Post's numerous other positions of honor are noted in Weisman 1972:176.
  13. Waldman, Benjamin. "Then & Now: Remnants of the Vanderbilt Mansion in New York City." Untapped Cities, February 1, 2012.
  14. Weisman 1972:176
  15. Somerset Hills Country Club website.
  16. Winston Weisman, "The Commercial Architecture of George B. Post" The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians31.3 (October 1972), pp. 176-203. Many details in this article are drawn from Weisman's sketch of Post's career.
  17. "Beyond The Gilded Age". Beyond The Gilded Age. 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  18. "HB Reformed Church :: History".
  19. 1 2 3 4 "Then and Now: Five Lost Buildings by George B. Post," Weylin, July 7, 2015.
  20. 1 2 Weisman, Winston. "The Commercial Architecture of George B. Post." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 31, No. 3 (October 1972), pp. 176–203.
  21. Weisman, Winston. "The Commercial Architecture of George B. Post." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 31, No. 3 (October 1972), p. 189.