North Carolina Architects and Builders - A Biographical Dictionary

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Kendall, William M. (1856-1941)

Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Residences:
  • New York City, New York
Trades:
  • Architect
NC Work Locations:
  • Chapel Hill, Orange County
  • Orange
Building Types:
  • Educational
Styles & Forms:
  • Beaux-Arts Classical

Louis Round Wilson Library [Chapel Hill]

View larger image and credits

Louis Round Wilson Library [Chapel Hill]

Biography

William Mitchell Kendall (February 13, 1856-August 8, 1941) was a Beaux Arts-trained New York architect who spent his long career with the nationally preeminent firm of McKim, Mead and White, and for many years he was a lead architect in the firm. Kendall's architectural work in North Carolina was as the principal for that firm during its tenure as "consulting architects" for the expansion of the University of the North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1920 until the early 1930s. As consulting architect collaborating with on-site architects H. P. Alan Montgomery (1921-1922) and Arthur C. Nash, Kendall did much to shape the character of the campus expansion and the design of individual buildings. Further research may show the nature of the architects' collaborations and their respective roles in planning key buildings.

William M. Kendall, born in Boston to Joshua and Phebe Mitchell Kendall, studied at Harvard and MIT, and studied and traveled in France and Italy before joining the firm of McKim, Mead and White in 1882. He married Grace Eliot Endicott, who predeceased him. Working closely with McKim, he was one of several notable architects who worked with the firm, which was regarded as tops in the country. He became a partner in 1906. After the deaths of two of the three founders (White in 1906 and McKim in 1909), the firm continued under the same name, with Kendall one of the principals along with surviving founder, William R. Mead (d. 1928). Unlike some architects employed by McKim, Mead and White who went on to establish their own firms and reputations, Kendall continued with the firm as partner and consultant until his death in 1941 and was involved in some of the firm's best-known works. He continued the firm's tradition of excellence in classical and Renaissance forms. A descendant of Mayflower pilgrims, he was especially noted for designing the canopy over Plymouth Rock as well as numerous major buildings in New York including the United States Post Office. An obituary in the New York Herald-Tribune referred to his artistic genius and described him as "an omnivorous reader, a discriminating habitue of the opera, and exacting gourmet—in short, an adept in the art of living" (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1942MMAAR..40...10).

It was in his capacity as a principal in the firm that Kendall became involved in the planning of the major expansion of the University of North Carolina. As explained in other entries on this website, the immense and complex project involved a variety of actors, including McKim, Mead and White (represented by Kendall) as consulting architects; on-site architects including H. P. Alan Montgomery and Arthur C. Nash, who were actually employed by the T. C. Atwood engineering organization; and the T. C. Thompson contracting firm of Charlotte.

As the representative of McKim, Mead and White, Kendall's vital role in the project included recruiting and working with the on-site architects, meeting with university leaders, and participating in design decisions concerning the overall project and individual buildings. As noted above, further research may fill out the details of the operation and relationships.

Shortly after the university expansion was authorized, the Chapel Hill Daily Tar Heel reported on Friday, May 15, 1920, that "Building Authorities" had met in Chapel Hill the previous Tuesday to "decide on the type and exterior to be followed in the University's new dormitories in order to make them blend best with the present buildings. The building authorities were J. H. Bridges, secretary of the state building commission; "state architect" James A. Salter; and Kendall, "collegiate architect of the firm of McKim, Mead and White, consulting architects for the University," evidently suggesting Kendall's experience and authority in college work. Salter was soon removed from the project. Atwood and university leaders further developed the organization of the undertaking. The Daily Tar Heel of May 5, 1922 explained that the T. C. Atwood organization was in charge of designing and erecting the building, while W. M. Kendall, of McKim, Mead and White of New York would be "consulting architect" for the proposed Graham Memorial Hall (not completed until later) and for "the other campus buildings now under construction." Thereafter, intermittent reports noted Kendall's presence on campus for consultations.

For a brief period, the local architect employed by Atwood was H. P. Alan Montgomery of New York, who planned several buildings in 1921-1922 before returning to New York, where he pursued a calling as a priest. Montgomery was replaced early in 1922 by Arthur C. Nash, a native of Geneva, New York, educated at Harvard, MIT, and the École des Beaux Arts, who had established a practice in New York that included collegiate buildings. Nash later told the story that one day in 1922 when he was walking down Fifth Avenue he encountered William M. Kendall, who was the principal with McKim, Mead and White most directly involved in the expansion of the University of North Carolina, where work was already underway. Kendall told Nash that the firm needed to send an architect to serve on site and asked Nash if he was interested. Nash promptly accepted. Nash and his family moved to Chapel Hill, where he spent the rest of the decade as building architect for the university, with Kendall visiting the campus at intervals.

According to Archibald Henderson's The Campus of the First State University, during McKim, Mead and White's "regime as 'consulting architects,' the official architects for T.C. Atwood, engineer, were H. P. Alan Montgomery (for Ruffin, Mangum, Manly, and Grimes dormitories, and Saunders [now Carolina], Murphey, Manning, and Bingham halls) and Arthur C. Nash for Venable Hall, Aycock, Graham, Everett, Lewis, and Stacy dormitories, Spencer Hall (women's dormitory), Graham Memorial, and the Library." The nature of the design collaboration between Kendall and the local architects, especially Nash, remains to be fully explored, but it was evidently successful.

To create the new south quadrangle as a grand and inviting Beaux-Arts ensemble, the architects added a monumental portico to the south face of South Building and framed the south quadrangle and its cross-axial secondary quadrangles with red brick edifices in a "colonial" style to complement the older buildings on campus. Terminating the south end of the new quadrangle was the monumental, neoclassical Louis Round Wilson Library (1929), a contrasting domed edifice in pale Indiana limestone that echoes McKim, Mead and White's celebrated Low Library at Columbia University in New York, which Kendall had designed with McKim—an architectural reference that clearly evoked the intentions of the University of North Carolina to become a major educational institution. The library in Chapel Hill, now Louis Round Wilson Library, was evidently a collaborative project for Nash and Kendall. Nash gave much of the credit to Kendall, but Nash's name appears on at least some of the drawings.

McKim, Mead and White's—and thus Kendall's—last project at the university before a hiatus in construction during the Great Depression was the Venetian-inspired campanile, the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower (1930-1931), built on axis south of the library with a donation from benefactors John Motley Morehead III and Rufus Lenoir Patterson. On February 12, 1931, the Daily Tar Heel reported that the plans for the tower were "made in New York by McKim, Mead and White in collaboration with Atwood and Weeks, University architects [successors to Nash]. . . Mr. Kendall, head of the New York firm, is visiting Chapel Hill today to look over the site of the building." At his death in 1941 at age 85 in Bar Harbor, Maine, Kendall was identified as the "senior member" of the firm (Poughkeepsie Journal, August 9, 1941), but his demise apparently attracted little attention in the press.

Probably because he practiced under the banner of McKim, Mead and White, Kendall is not as widely known as some architects of his quality and era. His contribution to the Beaux Arts campus and buildings of the University of North Carolina is only partially understood, but clearly his spirit and skill informed the character of the entire project.

Author: Catherine W. Bishir.

Published 2018

Building List

Bingham Hall (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1920

Contributors:
Dates: 1920s
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: University of North Carolina Campus, Chapel Hill, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • M. Ruth Little, The Town and Gown Architecture of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1795-1975 (2006).
Note:

Bingham Hall, which completed the east side of the South Quad, was initially designed by H. Alan Montgomery but was built a few years later with Arthur C. Nash as building architect. It anchors the southeastern corner of the quad.

Graham Memorial (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1929

Contributors:
Dates: 1929-1931
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: University of North Carolina Campus, Chapel Hill, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • M. Ruth Little, The Town and Gown Architecture of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1795-1975 (2006).
  • William S. Powell, The First State University: A Pictorial History of the University of North Carolina (1992).
Note:

The Daily Tar Heel of April 11, 1922 reported that Thomas C. Atwood and William Kendall (of McKim, Mead and White) had conferred with the Graham Memorial Building Committee concerning the best location for a campus edifice to honor the late university president, Edward Kidder Graham, an idea conceived as early as 1920. Other architects had been considered: Hobart B. Upjohn, R. B. McGoodwin, and Charles C. Hook. On May 12, the Daily Tar Heel reported that the T. C. Atwood Organization was busy working on plans; in the interim, architect Arthur C. Nash had come to Chapel Hill to serve as chief architect for the Atwood organization. The building was constructed in stages and remained unfinished for several years because donations sufficient for completion were slow in coming, but a large gift finally enabled it to be completed in 1931 and dedicated in January, 1932. Based on Archibald Henderson's list of buildings, this was the last of the campus buildings for which the contractors were T. C. Thompson and Brothers; thereafter a variety of contractors constructed the university buildings. It was also the last for which the firm of McKim, Mead and White was listed as consulting architects to Arthur C. Nash.

Graham Memorial

Kenan Stadium (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1927

Contributors:
Dates: 1927-1934
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: University of North Carolina Campus, Chapel Hill, NC
Status: Altered
Type:
  • Recreational
Images Published In:
  • William S. Powell, The First State University: A Pictorial History of the University of North Carolina (1992).
Note:

Kenan Stadium has been much enlarged and changed over the years to accommodate larger crowds and more elaborate seating areas. Still remaining from Nash's design is the Beaux-Arts plaque with the names of William Rand Kenan and his wife who dedicated the structure to his parents. It is set against Nash's original stones. For Kenan Stadium, 12 blueprints, tracings, and oilcloth drawings from Atwood and Nash are at University of North Carolina Library, Chapel Hill, in Collection Number 40102, "Physical Plant of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1904-1963."

Kenan Stadium Field House (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1927

Contributors:
Dates: 1927
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: University of North Carolina Campus, Chapel Hill, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Recreational
Images Published In:
  • William S. Powell, The First State University: A Pictorial History of the University of North Carolina (1992).
Note:

The Spanish Colonial Revival style Field House was razed in 2010 to make way for new seating and other accommodations.

Louis Round Wilson Library (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1928

Variant Name(s):
  • Wilson Library
Contributors:
Dates: 1928-1929
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: University of North Carolina Campus, Chapel Hill, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • John V. Allcott, The Campus at Chapel Hill: Two Hundred Years of Architecture (1986).
  • Catherine W. Bishir, North Carolina Architecture (1990).
  • Catherine W. Bishir and Michael T. Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003).
  • M. Ruth Little, The Town and Gown Architecture of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1795-1975 (2006).
Note:

The Daily Tar Heel of October 13, 1929, carried a long story about the library and its dedication ceremony, at which Governor O. Max Gardner was to present the building on behalf of the people of North Carolina, and John Sprunt Hill, chairman of the university board of trustees, was to accept it on behalf of the university trustees. The article noted that the library was "designed by Atwood and Nash, Inc., University architects and engineers, with the firm of McKim, Mead, and White as consulting architects. T. C. Thompson and Brothers were the constructors [sic]." The article described the edifice including the limestone façade with its portico of Corinthian columns, and interior spaces finished with marble, terrazzo, and travertine. The building was planned to hold 400,000 volumes, with the expectation of future expansion to hold more than a million. The library, which evokes McKim, Mead and White's famed Low Library at Columbia University, was a fitting terminus to the grand new southern quadrangle of the university. It is among the finest Beaux-Arts classical buildings in the state and remains revered and well used.

Louis Round Wilson Library

Lower Quad Dormitories (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1924

Variant Name(s):
  • Lewis Hall;
  • Graham Hall;
  • Everett Hall;
  • Aycock Hall
Contributors:
Dates: 1924-1928
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: University of North Carolina Campus, Chapel Hill, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • M. Ruth Little, The Town and Gown Architecture of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1795-1975 (2006).
  • William S. Powell, The First State University: A Pictorial History of the University of North Carolina (1992).
Note:

The four dormitories form the Lower Quad. A fifth, Stacy, was added in 1938.

Spencer Hall (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1924

Contributors:
Dates: 1924; 1958 (addition)
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Campus, Chapel Hill, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • M. Ruth Little, The Town and Gown Architecture of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1795-1975 (2006).
  • William S. Powell, The First State University: A Pictorial History of the University of North Carolina (1992).
Note:

For the original Spencer Hall, 32 sheets of blueprints from Atwood and Nash are at University of North Carolina Library, Chapel Hill, in Collection Number 40102 ("Physical Plant of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Records, 1904-1963"). For the 1958 addition, that collection includes 16 sheets of blueprints by H. Raymond Weeks.

Venable Hall (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1925

Contributors:
Dates: 1925
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: University of North Carolina Campus, Chapel Hill, NC
Status: No longer standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • William S. Powell, The First State University: A Pictorial History of the University of North Carolina (1992).

Wagstaff House (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1925

Contributors:
Dates: 1925
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: 214 North Boundary St., Chapel Hill, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential
Note:

The house was built for Henry and Mary Wagstaff, who had owned a ca. 1908 house on the lot; they moved that house to the northeast corner of the lot and erected the present Colonial Revival residence.

Zeta Psi Fraternity House (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1920

Contributors:
Dates: 1920s
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: 200 W. Cameron Ave., Chapel Hill, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Residential

Manning Hall (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1923

Contributors:
Dates: 1923
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: University of North Carolina Campus, Chapel Hill, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • M. Ruth Little, The Town and Gown Architecture of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1795-1975 (2006).
Note:

According to Archibald Henderson, The Campus of the First State University (1949), Manning Hall's architects included both H. P. Alan Montgomery and Arthur C. Nash, suggesting that Montgomery initially designed it, but Nash as his successor completed the building.

Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1930

Contributors:
Dates: 1930-1931
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Campus, Chapel Hill, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Memorial
Images Published In:
  • M. Ruth Little, The Town and Gown Architecture of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1795-1975 (2006).

Ruffin, Mangum, Manly, Grimes Dormitories (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1921

Contributors:
Dates: 1921
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Campus, Chapel Hill, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • M. Ruth Little, The Town and Gown Architecture of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1795-1975 (2006).

Carolina Hall (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1922

Variant Name(s):
  • Saunders Hall
Contributors:
Dates: 1922
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Campus, Chapel Hill, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Note:

The postcard shows Carolina Hall Saunders Hall on the left. Built as Saunders Hall, it was renamed Carolina Hall in 2015.

Murphey Hall (Chapel Hill, Orange County)

Orange Chapel Hill

1922

Contributors:
Dates: 1922
Location: Chapel Hill, Orange County
Street Address: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Campus, Chapel Hill, NC
Status: Standing
Type:
  • Educational
Images Published In:
  • M. Ruth Little, The Town and Gown Architecture of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1795-1975 (2006).
Note:

The postcard shows Murphey Hall on the right.

William M. Kendall's Work Locations

Bibliography

  • Archibald Henderson, The Campus of the First State University (1949).
  • "William M. Kendall," Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_M._Kendall.
  • The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association, Fortieth Annual Report (1942), http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1942MMAAR..40...10.

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