Henry Webster Tomlinson 

The Architect Henry Webster Tomlinson, who practiced for over four decades, is rarely mentioned in the annals of architectural history. In fact, he is often relegated to a footnote in the career of the architectural master Frank Lloyd Wright, with whom he partnered in the early years of the twentieth century. Excerpt here:

Tomlinson was born in Chicago on August 11, 1869, to John Henry Tomlinson (1827–1911) and Annette Augusta Webster (1835–1911). John was a first-generation Canadian whose father had been an English immigrant. He was a publisher involved with the First Baptist Church, originally located at South Water and Franklin Streets on Chicago’s Near South Side, and reportedly the oldest active officer of any Sunday school in the United States in the late 1800s. Tomlinson’s mother, Annette, was born in New Hampshire. Through her mother, Julia Ann Dearborn, Tomlinson was eligible for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution; he was a descendant of Simeon Choate. According to her obituary, Annette was “of a very intellectual and philanthropic mind,” noted for “her deeds of kindness. ”A profile in the June 15, 1907, issue of Construction News refers to Tomlinson as a “Chicago product.” As a young man, he attended Douglas School and later South Division High School, both located on the city’s South Side. After graduation he went to work for William Warren Boyington (1818 –1898), a prolific and well-known architect in Chicago during the years leading up to and immediately following the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. Boyington’s office designed several prominent buildings, including the original Chicago Board of Trade Building and the State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. His best-known work is the Chicago Water Tower and Pumping Station, which survived the Great Chicago Fire and remains a pristine example of the architect’s Victorian-era, eclectic style.