The book: Kirtland Cutter – Architect in the land of Promise

Kirtland Cutter: Architect in the land of Promise
Henry Matthews

University of Washington Press with Eastern Washington State Historical Society, 1998

A McLellan Book

432 pp., 265 illus, notes, bibliog., index

Cloth ISBN 0-295-97609-8. Paper ISBN 0-295-98766-8

In the early years of the 20th Century, Spokane was singled out for praise in the West for the quality of its architecture and the impressive way it had rebuilt after the devastating fire of 1889. Major credit for the city’s distinctive character was extended to Kirtland Kelsey Cutter for his “rare architectural force and genius for design.” His remarkable career stretching from the Gilded Age to the Progressive Era, allows a fascinating study of the evolution of an eclectic form of architecture that was an inevitable response to rich regional and historical influences during a time of transition from frontier settlements to modern city.

Kirtland Kelsey Cutter Caricature 1904

Kirtland Kelsey Cutter Caricature 1904

Cutter’s influence was felt far beyond Spokane – in Seattle, other areas of Washington and in Oregon, Idaho and Montana. He was also responsible for buildings in the East and even one in England. After financial problems ended his career in the Northwest, he began anew at age 63 in Southern California, and worked there until his death in 1939 at age 79.

Henry Matthews presents a comprehensive study of the whole body of Cutter’s work, with ample photographs and illustrations. The book is based on exhaustive research in the Northwest, Ohio, California and Washington DC, revealing the influences on Cutter and his associates, the processes at work in the design and construction of the buildings, and the relations between the architect and the many people who commissioned his work. Particularly useful to Matthews’s research was a collection of 290 sets of drswings, as well as office accounts, letters, and books from Cutter’s library – materials acquired by the Eastern Washington State Historical Society. He was able to interview former assistants and clients, who provided valuable insights on the architect and the way he worked. In addition, many of the architect’s residences, hotels, clubs, and commercial buildings are still standing.

This book adds significantly to an understanding of Western architectural history. But Cutter’s experimentation in many styles and the imaginative nature of his work makes for a study that goes far beyond regional limits and sheds light on National trends.

Reviews

JSAH, pdf read more…

Southern California Quarterly, pdf read more…

Winterthir Cutter, pdf read more…

Kirtland Cutter was a major turn of the century architect, important both nationally and regionally. This book reveals how vigorous West Coast Architecture was just before and just after the turn of the century and on into the twenties.
David Gebhard, University of California, Santa Barbara

”A Lucid and original presentation of an important figure, pertinent not only to Spokane but to larger topics of Western urban and regional history.”
D. W. Meinig, Syracuse University

Photo gallery

1 Cutter’s own Chalet, Spokane 1887-9
Cutter’s own Chalet, Spokane 1887-9

2 Wardner House, Fairhaven, Washington 1889
Wardner House, Fairhaven, Washington 1889

3 Fairmont Cemetery Chapel, Spokane 1890
Fairmont Cemetery Chapel, Spokane 1890

4. Idaho Building, World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893
Idaho Building, World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893

5 Campbell House, Spokane, 1897
Campbell House, Spokane, 1897

6 Patrick Clark House Spokane, 1897
Patrick Clark House Spokane, 1897

7 Hall of the Doges, Davenport’s Restaurant Spokane 1904
Hall of the Doges, Davenport’s Restaurant Spokane 1904

8 The Orange Bower Bar, Davenport’s Restaurant, Spokane 1904
The Orange Bower Bar, Davenport’s Restaurant, Spokane 1904

9 Thornewood, Tacoma, Washington,1909
Thornewood, Tacoma, Washington,1909

10 Lake McDonald Lodge, Glacier National Park, Montana 1913
Lake McDonald Lodge, Glacier National Park, Montana 1913

11 Lake McDonald Lodge, central space 1913
Lake McDonald Lodge, central space 1913

12 Lunada Bay Plaza, Palos Verdes, California 1923
Lunada Bay Plaza, Palos Verdes, California 1923

13 Cameron House, Palos Verdes, California 1924
Cameron House, Palos Verdes, California 1924