Nelson and Cooper (ca. 1921-ca. 1931)

Founded:

Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Residences:

  • Raleigh, North Carolina

Trades:

  • Architect

Styles & Forms:

Beaux-Arts; Colonial Revival; Georgian Revival; Neoclassical

Nelson and Cooper (ca. 1921-ca. 1931) was a Raleigh architectural firm established by G. Murray Nelson and Thomas W. Cooper. The partnership produced designs, chiefly in Georgian Revival, Colonial Revival, and neoclassical modes, for numerous residences and public buildings in Raleigh and Durham during the prime construction years of the 1920s and into the 1930s.

As shown in Raleigh city directories and the United States Census, Nelson (a native of Canada) arrived in Raleigh in 1918 or 1919 and joined in a brief partnership with the established architectJames A. Salter, for whom Thomas W. Cooper, a Raleigh native and former stonecutter, was already working as a draftsman. Salter soon returned to solo practice and became State Architect, and in 1920 or 1921 Nelson and Cooper formed their partnership, which lasted for at least a decade and had offices in both Raleigh and Durham. The Coffey Family Papers at SCRC contains a set of blueprints (1920) for the Nathaniel A. Dunn House by Nelson and Cooper as well as a several undated colored drawings on tracing paper for unnamed houses, signed by Nelson and Cooper. These may yet be identified further. How the two men divided the firm’s work is not established. It is likely that some buildings generally credited to one man or the other were from the firm of Nelson and Cooper. For additional information and building lists see biographical entries on each of the principals. Note: Some accounts suggest that Nelson and Cooper established their partnership in the early or mid-1910s, but this is not correct.

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  • David F. Cannon House

    Contributors:
    Coffey Family, contractors; John N. Coffey, contractor; John W. Coffey, contractor; John W. Coffey and Son, contractors; Thomas Wright Cooper, architect; Nelson and Cooper, architect
    Dates:

    1938

    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:

    2613 White Oak Rd., Raleigh, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Images Puslished In:

    Houses By Coffey, Charlotte Vestal Brown Papers, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.


  • J. Deryl Hart House

    Contributors:
    Thomas Wright Cooper, architect; George W. Kane, builder; Nelson and Cooper, architects; G. Murray Nelson, architect
    Dates:

    1934

    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:

    2324 Duke University Rd., Durham, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Note:

    Dr. Hart came to Duke as head of surgery and later became president of Duke University. In recent years the large Tudor Revival residence has been the home of Duke President Richard Brodhead. The architect for the house has been identified both as Nelson and Cooper and Nelson alone. Records of its construction are in Dr. Hart’s papers at Duke University.


  • Jay Broadus Hubbell House

    Contributors:
    Nelson and Cooper, architects
    Dates:

    1931

    Location:
    Durham, Durham County
    Street Address:

    121 Pinecrest Rd., Durham, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Note:

    The house was built in 1931 for Jay Broadus Hubbell, one of the founders of the field of American literary studies and professor of American Literature at Duke University.


  • Leazar Hall

    Contributors:
    Thomas Wright Cooper, architect (ca. 1922); Harry P. S. Keller, architect (1912); Nelson and Cooper, architects (ca. 1922); G. Murray Nelson, architect (ca. 1922); Northup and O'Brien, architects (1947); Ross Edward Shumaker, architect (1945)
    Dates:

    1912; ca. 1922 [additions]; 1945 [additions]; 1947 [additions]

    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:

    North Carolina State University Campus, Raleigh, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Educational

    Images Puslished In:

    Burton F. Beers and Murray Scott Downs, North Carolina State University: A Pictorial History (1986).
    Facility Coordinators, http://www.ncsu.edu/facilities/buildings/.
    Marguerite E. Schumann, Strolling at State: A Walking Guide to North Carolina State University (1973).

    Note:

    Ross Edward Shumaker designed the building’s east balconies.


  • Nathaniel A. Dunn House

    Contributors:
    Coffey Family, contractors; John N. Coffey, contractor; John W. Coffey, contractor; John W. Coffey and Son, contractors; Thomas Wright Cooper, architect; Nelson and Cooper, architects
    Variant Name(s):

    N. A. Dunn House

    Dates:

    1929-1930

    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:

    1105 Cowper Dr., Raleigh, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Images Puslished In:

    Houses By Coffey, Charlotte Vestal Brown Papers, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.

    Note:

    Nelson and Cooper’s blueprints, dated 1929, for the Nathaniel A. Dunn House are in the Coffey Family Papers, Special Collections Research Center, NCSU Libraries. It is a characteristic example of the Georgian Revival style residences prevalent in Hayes Barton. The blueprints are the only set by Nelson and Cooper identified thus far.


  • Ricks Hall

    Contributors:
    Thomas Wright Cooper, architect; Nelson and Cooper, architects; G. Murray Nelson, architect
    Dates:

    Ca. 1922

    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:

    North Carolina State University Campus, Raleigh, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Educational

    Images Puslished In:

    Marguerite E. Schumann, Strolling at State: A Walking Guide to North Carolina State University (1973).


  • State Agriculture Building

    Contributors:
    Thomas Wright Cooper, architect; Nelson and Cooper, architects; G. Murray Nelson, architect; James A. Salter, preliminary architect
    Dates:

    1922-1923

    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:

    2 W. Edenton St., Raleigh, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Public


  • Syme Hall

    Contributors:
    Thomas Wright Cooper, architect (1922); Nelson and Cooper, architect (1922); Hobart Upjohn, architect (1916)
    Variant Name(s):

    South Hall

    Dates:

    1916; 1922 [additions]

    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:

    North Carolina State University Campus, Raleigh, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Educational

    Note:

    Further research is required to ascertain the authorship of this substantial dormitory. It has been credited to Nelson and Cooper with the original section described as built in 1916 plus additions in 1922, which have been cited to Hobart Upjohn. It is unlikely that Nelson or Nelson and Cooper were involved in the 1916 portion, since their partnership was not formed until 1920 or 1921, and there is no record of Nelson’s presence in Raleigh as early as 1916.


  • Thomas Ruffin House

    Contributors:
    Thomas Wright Cooper, architect; Nelson and Cooper, architects; G. Murray Nelson, architect
    Dates:

    Ca. 1932

    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:

    1001 Harvey St., Raleigh, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential


  • William Proctor House

    Contributors:
    Coffey Family, contractors; John W. Coffey, contractor; Thomas Wright Cooper, architect; Nelson and Cooper, architects; G. Murray Nelson, architect
    Dates:

    1932

    Location:
    Raleigh, Wake County
    Street Address:

    1521 Jarvis St., Raleigh, NC

    Status:

    Standing

    Type:

    Residential

    Images Puslished In:

    Houses By Coffey, Charlotte Vestal Brown Papers, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.


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