Dodge, William Waldo, Jr. (1895-1971)
Washington, D.C., USA
- Asheville, North Carolina
Styles & Forms:
Colonial Revival; Craftsman; Rustic; Tudor Revival
William Waldo Dodge, Jr. (1895-1971), architect and craftsman, was one of the leading figures in Asheville’s architectural scene as well as an illustrious and well-known silversmith. He was part of an important larger movement in Asheville that expressed the influences of the romantic and Arts and Crafts movements in a variety of media from architecture to silver, pottery, weaving, and other arts. His personalized work attracted liberal patronage, even during the Great Depression, from clients who could still afford to build, and his buildings remain treasured expressions of his craftsmanly approach to architecture.
Dodge was born in Washington, D. C. in 1895, the son of William W. and Margaret Parker Dodge. His father was a patent attorney who headed a successful family legal practice in the nation’s capital. William, Jr., attended the Friends School in Washington and then Philips-Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. He was sent to Princeton University to prepare for a career in law, but after a year decided that he did not want to be an attorney and enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study architecture. He was graduated from MIT with a Bachelor of Architecture in 1916. From Cambridge, with World War I looming, he went to Plattsburg, New York, and enrolled in officer’s training school. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant and sent to France as a member of the American Expeditionary Force. Wounded in battle, he was awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart.
Exposure to chlorine gas during the war aggravated Dodge’s tubercular condition, and after the war, he was treated at the veterans’ hospital at Oteen near Asheville, North Carolina, a community long regarded as having a climate and surroundings beneficial to patients afflicted with lung diseases. This assignment brought Dodge to the Asheville area, where he spent most of the rest of his life. At Oteen he taught crafts to fellow patients and developed an interest in silver and copper smithing. After he was released from the hospital, Dodge moved to Connecticut and married Margaret Robinson, but a relapse forced him to enter Gaylord Tuberculosis Sanitorium. While he was convalescing there, the Dodges studied silversmithing. After his discharge, the couple moved to Asheville, where Dodge briefly taught physics and mechanical drawing at the Asheville Boys School. He opened a silversmith shop on Charlotte Street in Asheville and created over the years a unique and widely admired body of artistic silver work.
Early in the 1920s, a prominent Asheville citizen asked Dodge to design a residence for him, and Dodge planned for him the lavish Tudor Revival style Hammond-Knowlton House (1925). Drawing upon his training at MIT, Dodd added architectural practice to his silversmith’s craft. With Asheville in the midst of a boom period, he found abundant opportunities and in 1927 moved to a shop he designed and built in the new suburban community of Biltmore Forest, developed on a portion of the Biltmore Estate. An account of Dodge’s practice was published in the American Architect in November, 1928, illustrating his silverware, workshop, and studio, and describing him as “an architect by profession and a craftsman by avocation.” In 1929 Dodge obtained a license to practice architecture in North Carolina, and he continued to attract or find commissions during the Great Depression.
Blending English, French, and rustic elements already favored in the mountain city, where the mountain setting and the romantic (and French) aura of Biltmore exerted strong influences, Dodge rendered these themes in picturesque compositions enriched with handcrafted detailing that appealed to the wealthy residents of Asheville and Biltmore Forest. His own shop and other small buildings—including repurposed log cabins from the region—display his intricately crafted details and rustic motifs on a modest scale, while larger houses such as the William A. Knight House II in Biltmore Forest combine brick, stucco, stone, and wood, and individually designed details of wood carvings, hinges, sculptures, and more to evoke the spirit of a French chateau.
In 1942, facing the wartime hiatus in private construction, he and five other western North Carolina architects banded together to form the architectural firm of Six Associates to enable them to compete for defense contracts and other large projects. Although the firm continued and expanded after the war, in 1947 Dodge withdrew to resume his own practice, which he pursued until his retirement in 1956. His son William Waldo Dodge, III, followed him in the profession with a large practice in Raleigh.
Note: A large collection entitled the William Waldo Dodge Architectural Drawings, 1916-1989 (MC 00372) was donated in 2010 to the Special Collections Research Center at NCSU Libraries. Although most of the drawings are from the firm of Dodge III, there are several by Dodge, Jr., especially from the post-World War II period. When processing is complete and further field checking can be done, additional entries will be inserted in the building list. In the meantime readers may consult the preliminary inventory at http://library.ncsu.edu/findingaids/mc00372.
- American Architects’ Directory (1970).
- “The Architect as Craftsman,” American Architect (Nov. 1928).
- “Artisan’s Shop, Asheville,” American Architect (July 1932).
- Biographical Clipping File, Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, North Carolina.
- Charlotte V. Brown, interview with William W. Dodge III, Sept. 4, 1981, notes in Charlotte V. Brown Collection, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.
- William Waldo Dodge Collection, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.
- “William Waldo Dodge, Jr.,” Western North Carolina Heritage, http://www.heritagewnc.org/WNC_architects/dodge/dodge.htm.
- “House of W. A. Knight, Biltmore Forest, N. C.,” American Architect (Nov. 1928).
- Bruce E. Johnson, Hand Wrought: The Artistry of William Waldo Dodge: Silver + Architecture (2005).
- “Rural Shop by William W. Dodge,” Pencil Points (Jan. 1941).
- David Schulman et al., Biltmore Forest: Our History, Our Lives (1998).
- Paul Frederick Stephens, “A Manifestation of Arts & Crafts Architecture in a Small Southern City: the architecture of William W. Dodge, Jr.,” M.A. thesis, University of Virginia (1991).
- Douglas Swaim, ed., Cabins and Castles: The History and Architecture of Buncombe County, North Carolina (1981).
- Stephen C. Worsley, “William Waldo Dodge, Jr., Silversmith,” Carolina Comments, 37.5 (Sept. 1989).
- Dates:1928-1930Location:Enka, Buncombe CountyStreet Address:US 19/23 at NC 111, Enka, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:The American Enka Company, which manufactured rayon, opened on a large rural site in Buncombe County to take advantage of the clean air and water, needed for rayon production. The company created a professionally planned village included good housing for various employees. William Dodge was employed to design the large, stylish managers houses, which were masonry buildings rendered in Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival styles popular at the time. These included 1 Lake Drive, the Moritz house (destroyed 1966), 2 Lake Drive, the Gill House, 3 Lake Drive, Schilthuis House, 4 Lake Drive, Kriek House, 5 Lake Drive, 6 Lake Drive, 7 Lake Drive, the VanDobbenburgh House, 8 Lake Drive, Slikker House, and a house plan "that was used three times" at 1, 2, and 4 Hillcrest.
- Dates:ca. 1941Location:Asheville, Buncombe CountyStreet Address:1086 Hendersonville Rd., Asheville, NCStatus:StandingType:CommercialNote:The Artisan's Shop in Biltmore Forest at 350 Vanderbilt Rd., designed by Dodge, which was destroyed in 1982, was begun by George Arthur who as a young boy age 13 began working in the Biltmore Estate Industries started by the Vanderbilts. He stayed with it 18 years and ended as a superintendent. After starting the Artisan's Shop he operated it with Robert Valier through at least 1932 after which Valier became the only operator. (Note: Dodge also designed Valier's house at 29 Hilltop Rd.) The Carolina Architecture and Allied Arts, 1942, lists this second Artisan's Shop as being designed by Dodge, and Valier continues to operate it; the Artisan's Shop moved from the Vanderbilt Road location to Hendersonville Road in 1941. The building still stands and is currently the Countryside Apartments.
- Dates:1932Location:Biltmore Forest, Buncombe CountyStreet Address:350 Vanderbilt Rd., Biltmore Forest, NCStatus:No longer standingType:CommercialImages Puslished In:American Architect, 142 (July 1932).Note:The Artisans' Shop, which stood across the street from the Silver Shop, was razed in the 1980s or 1990s and some of the carved panels that adorned it were incorporated into the condominiums that replaced it.
- Dates:1959Location:Asheville, Buncombe CountyStreet Address:1000 Hendersonville Rd., Asheville, NCStatus:StandingType:CommercialNote:Initially, the market was housed in a century-old log cabin found by Hubert Hayes in Puncheon Run in Madison County. Dodge was architect for the re-building of the cabin and for additional rooms. The country market was created as an outlet to sell Christmas greenery and to teach conservation. In 1959 the Biltmore Country Market was a member of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild, operated by a foundation formed by the garden club. See Asheville Citizen, 7/19/1959, "Dedication of Country Market Makes an Old Dream Come True." The grounds were landscaped by Doan Ogden of Asheville.
- Dates:1938Location:Buncombe CountyStreet Address:354 Kimberly Ave., Buncombe, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:Pack Library has the architectural drawings for this house (AD0127) at 354 Kimberly Avenue, dated 1/8/1935. Also, Carolina Architecture and Allied Arts, 1939-40 edition features the Salley house with photographs.
- Dates:1928Location:Buncombe CountyStreet Address:26 Battery Park, Buncombe, NCStatus:StandingType:CommercialNote:Asheville Citizen Times, Aug. 16, 1931, noted that Dodge designed "Hursey's, on Battery Park Place." It first appeared on Battery Park Place in the 1929 city directory and was referred to as the Hursey Building.
- Dates:1931Location:Buncombe CountyStreet Address:Merrimon Ave. at Graceland, Buncombe, NCStatus:No longer standingType:Health CareNote:The charitable facility provided a foster home for children from infants to age four as an alternative to placing them at the orphanage among older children. (See toto.lib.unca.edu/findingaids/oralhistory/VOA/S_Z/shepard_katherine.pdf.)
- Dates:ca. 1939Location:Asheville, Buncombe CountyStreet Address:Sulphur Springs Rd., Asheville, NCStatus:UnknownType:CommercialImages Puslished In:Carolina Architecture and Allied Arts: A Pictorial Review of Carolina's Representative Architecture (1939-1940).
- Dates:1941Location:Asheville, Buncombe CountyStreet Address:28 Battery Park, Asheville, NCStatus:StandingType:CommercialImages Puslished In:Carolina Architecture and Allied Arts: A Pictorial Review of Carolina's Representative Architecture (1942).Note:Asheville Citizen-Times, 3/16/1941, "A New Business Beauty Spot Is Added To Battery Park," lists William W. Dodge, Jr. as architect. Carolina Architecture and Allied Arts, 1942 edition, lists the building with photo, "Store Building for T.B. Sumner, General Contractor C. M. Hyatt."
- Dates:1929Location:Biltmore Forest, Buncombe CountyStreet Address:349 Vanderbilt Rd., Biltmore Forest, NCStatus:StandingType:Commercial
ResidentialImages Puslished In:Douglas Swaim, ed., Cabins and Castles: The History and Architecture of Buncombe County, North Carolina (1981).
- Dates:1939Location:Asheville, Buncombe CountyStreet Address:1096 Hendersonville Rd., Asheville, NCStatus:StandingType:Educational
ResidentialNote:Clementine Douglas was a major figure in the revival and promotion of mountain handicrafts in the Asheville area in the early to mid 20th-century and was a founder of the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild. In 1939, she decided to relocate her weaving and crafts studio, which employed many local women, to a new site, moved a log cabin to the site, and had architect Dodge design the additions to create her adjoining residence and to supervise the project.
- Dates:ca. 1941Location:Asheville, Buncombe CountyStreet Address:640 Merrimon Ave., Asheville, NCStatus:No longer standingType:CommercialImages Puslished In:Carolina Architecture and Allied Arts: A Pictorial Review of Carolina's Representative Architecture (1942).Note:Like several early motels, the complex took a residential form with landscaped grounds.
- Dates:1940Location:Cullowhee, Jackson CountyStreet Address:Western Carolina University Campus, Cullowhee, NCStatus:UnknownType:EducationalImages Puslished In:Carolina Architecture and Allied Arts: A Pictorial Review of Carolina's Representative Architecture (1940).
- Dates:1959Location:Raleigh, Wake CountyStreet Address:1900 McDonald Ln., Raleigh, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialNote:For his retirement years, Deitrick with William W. Dodge, Jr., designed the clean-lined 1-story residence with features emphasizing convenience and low maintenance.
- Dates:1925-1927Location:Biltmore Forest, Buncombe CountyStreet Address:15 E. Forest Rd., Biltmore Forest, NCStatus:StandingType:ResidentialImages Puslished In:American Architect, 136 (Nov. 1929).
American Architect, 136 (Nov. 1929).
- Dates:1927Location:Biltmore Forest, Buncombe CountyStreet Address:365 Vanderbilt Rd., Biltmore Forest, NCStatus:StandingType:CommercialImages Puslished In:American Architect, 134 (Nov. 1928).
American Architect, 134 (Nov. 1928).