Source: NMHS NEWSLETTER November 1989

A.M. Strauss Firm Dissolved After 70 Years by Allan D. White

The A.M. Strauss & Associates architectural firm closed last year.  The records of the firm’s prodigious 70-year output are slated to go to the Indiana Historical Society and represent some 3000 projects.

Alvin M. Strauss, born in 1895 in Kendallville, Indiana of German immigrant parents, opened his architecture studio in Fort Wayne in 1918, following a three-year apprenticeship in Chicago.  His career bristled with activity , and his reputation as an architect spread well beyond Fort Wayne.

Strauss designed the Daniel and Jeanne Andersen house at 201 South Maple Street which wil be open for the historical society’s 1989 house tour on December 3, 11:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m..  The Andersens plan to display his prospectus and blueprints for the house.

The Andersens’ English cottage style house was built at the end of 1926 and 1927 for Fred and Julia Gingerick.  Gingerick was an executive officer of Peabody Seating Company.  His wife, Julia, had grown up in North Manchester, the daughter of the Vandalia Railroad station master.  Because of Fred’s association with the Peabody family, it was once assumed that Charles Weatherhogg, the Fort Wayne architect who had drawn the plans for the buildings on the campus of Peabody Retirement Community, had done the Gingerick-Andersen house, too.

In an interview to prepare for the home tour, however, the Andersens’ showed us the prospectus and blueprints with the name A.M. Strauss on them.  Since that time further research has been made with the Gingericks’ daughter, Virginia, and with the architectural historian, Craig Leonard.

Leading Role in Planning Lincoln Bank Tower

Strauss drew the plans for the Gingerick house after a long drive with the family in the city of Indianapolis, according to the Gingericks’ daughter, Virginia.  Craig Leonard tells us that he is now compiling National Register forms for the 1934 Zimmer house in Warsaw, also a Strauss work.  Leonard kindly took the time to send us copies of Fort Wayne newspaper clippings concerning Strauss’s triumphs and his obituary.  Strauss died July 6, 1958, after a long bout with cancer and is buried in Kendallville.

Included among the outstanding buildings for which the firm was responsible are Allen County War Memorial Coliseum; the Lincoln Bank & Trust Tower; the Embassy, Paramount, and Clyde Theaters; the redesign of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and MacDougal Chapel; Central Catholic High School; Parkview Memorial Hospital; St. Vincent Villa; the Baer Field Terminal; 13 buildings at Indiana University; and the administration and factory for the Auburn Automobile Company

When it was opened in 1930, Lincoln Tower was the tallest building in Indiana.  For it Strauss was in consultation with Walker and Weeks of Cleveland, Ohio, and he both designed and supervised the construction of that building.

He was the consulting architect for the Wolf & Dessauer building, new in 1958 at the time of his death.  It later served as L.S. Ayres downtown but is now totally refitted as an office complex.

The World War I veteran was a member of the State Architects Registration Board, Executives Club, Elks, Fort Wayne Country Club, YMCA and the Achduth Vesholom Congregation of Fort Wayne.