Friday, May 4, 2018

Versatile Southeast Idaho Architect Frank Paradice [otd 05/04]

Long-time Pocatello architect Frank C. Paradice, Jr., was born May 4, 1879 in Ontario, Canada. Not long after, the family moved to Denver, Colorado. Frank Jr. graduated from high school in Denver and then studied architecture in Chicago at the Armour Institute of Technology. (The Armour was one of two institutes that later merged to form today’s Illinois Institute of Technology.)
Fargo Building, Pocatello, ca 1920.
Bannock County Historical Society.

Frank returned to Denver for hands-on architectural training with a firm there while he also worked for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. Paradice spent several years designing depots and other structures in Colorado and New Mexico for various railway companies. After awhile, he opened his own architectural office and branched out into other construction areas: a court house in Alamogordo, summer resort at Cloudcroft, New Mexico, etc.

In 1908, he landed his first contract in Boise. Shortly thereafter, he formed a partnership with Benjamin M. Nisbet, who had worked for the noted Boise architectural firm, Tourtellotte & Hummel. The partners designed numerous building in Boise, as well as structures in Homedale, Parma, Caldwell, Ontario (in Oregon), and other towns in western Idaho.
Empire Building. Real estate image.

Their Boise projects included the Empire Building. The Idaho Statesman said that knowledgeable observers considered the Empire “the handsomest building in the entire northwest.”

At some point, Paradice became friends with then-Governor James Brady [blog, Jun 12], who was from Pocatello. Brady apparently pointed out that Southeast Idaho represented a wide-open field for a young architect. In 1914, Frank ended his partnership with Nisbet and moved to Pocatello. He immediately began tackling important projects there, including the Fargo Building (shown at the top), completed in 1916.

For nearly forty years, Paradice worked on an amazing range of structures: office buildings, schools, commercial laundries, hotels, at least one movie theater, stores (hardware, department, and others), a bank, warehouses, garages, and manufacturing plants. He did not confine his practice to just Pocatello. Frank designed projects in Burley, Blackfoot, and several smaller Idaho towns, as well as a structure in Kemmerer, Wyoming.

Still, as could be expected, Frank’s impact was felt most in Pocatello. He, perhaps more than any other architect, put his stamp on the city. That included many original designs as well as a number of renovations. As just one example, he drew up plans for a new men's dormitory at the Idaho Technical Institute (today’s Idaho State University). The Idaho Statesman in Boise reported (May 28, 1920), “Business men of the city are building the new dormitory and will rent it at a reasonable rate to the institute.”

Also, Pocatello High School was extensively rebuilt in 1939 using an Art-Deco style that Paradice designed. Many of the buildings he had a hand in are still in use. In most cases, subsequent renovations have stayed true to Paradice’s visions, at least for the exteriors.
Brady Memorial Chapel.
Posted by user Chooch72

One structure, which is on the National Register of Historical Places, highlights the architect’s versatility: the James H. Brady Memorial Chapel in Pocatello’s Mountain View Cemetery.

Frank participated in many social and service organizations in Pocatello and, for a long time, was the only Idaho member of the  American Institute of Architects. Paradice was still handling projects when he died in February 1952.
References: [Defen]
Arthur Hart, “Idaho history: 1910 was a big building year for Boise,” Idaho Statesman (April 11, 2010).
"Frank H. Paradice, Jr.," Historical Directory of American Architects, American Institute of Architects, online compilation.
Bill Vaughn, Mary Jane Hogan, “Idaho State University Administration Building,” National Register of Historical Places Registration Form (1992).

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