Croker, William Henry

CROKER, William Henry (1843-1942) was born in London, Engl. on 21 September 1843, son of Edward Croker, an architect who suffered financial reverses in England and brought his family to Canada in 1849. They settled near Orillia, Ont. and William was educated at Orillia Public School, later working as a carpenter in the town until 1866 when he moved to the United States to serve an apprenticeship with J.B. Dibble, an architect in Saginaw, Michigan. Croker returned to Orillia in 1872 and continued in the trade as a carpenter, then began to advertise his services as an architect. Many of the principal buildings of Orillia and Simcoe County erected between 1875 and 1910 can be attributed to him, including most of the commercial buildings on Mississauga Street. His best known work is the elaborate Gothic Revival design for St. James Anglican Church (1890-91; burned 1905; rebuilt). His scheme for the Carnegie Library (1909) is a competent exercise in Beaux-Arts planning. Croker was the inventor of an improved system of constructing handrails for spiral stairs, known as the arris-cut, which was exhibited at Carpenters's Hall in London and awarded a prize (C.A.B., i, July 1888, 8). A dearth of work during WWI prompted Croker to retire from the profession. He moved to Midland, Ont. in 1924 and died there on 1 January 1942 (obit. Orillia Packet & Times, 8 Jan. 1942, 1 & 4; biog. & port. Orillia Packet & Times, 22 March 1934, 1 & 4)

ORILLIA

PETER STREET, cottage for Miss Moffat, 1873 (Orillia Times, 3 April 1873, 3)
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, a manse for the church, 1885 (Orillia Times, 19 Nov. 1885, 3, descrip.)
MISSISSAUGA STREET, at Peter Street, commercial block for Tipping, Tipping & Co., 1887 (Orillia Times, 21 April 1887, 3, t.c.)
WEST WARD SCHOOL, 1887 (Orillia Times, 21 April 1887, 3)
COLBORNE STREET EAST, 'Glenorama', a mansion for Andrew Tait, 1887; burned c. 1965 (Orillia Times, 12 May 1887, 2)
ST. JAMES ANGLICAN CHURCH, Peter Street at Coldwater Street, 1889; Sunday School, 1902; church burned 1905; rebuilt by W.R. Strickland (Orilla Packet, 26 July 1889, 2, descrip.; Canadian Churchman, xv, 22 Aug. 1889, 503, descrip.; C.R., xiii, 19 March 1902, 2; dwgs. at Toronto Anglican Diocese Office)
unnamed street, rebuilding of 'Edinswold', a residence for Mrs. Stephen Heward, 1890 (Orillia Times, 24 Feb. 1890, 4)
SOUTH ORILLIA, school for S.S. No. 1, 1890 (C.R., i, 7 June 1890, 2)
COLBORNE STREET, residence for C.E. Fitton, 1893 (C.R., iv, 25 May 1893, 1)
TUDHOPE CARRIAGE CO., Colborne Street, factory, 1893; major addition, 1895; warehouse, 1898; additional buildings, 1902 (C.R., iv, 10 Aug. 1893, 1, t.c.; vi, 4 July 1895, 2, t.c.; ix, 13 July 1898, 2; xiii, 25 June 1902, 2; Weekly Times [Orillia], 18 June 1896, Supplement, 8, descrip.)
BRANT STREET, residence for James White, 1894 (C.R., v, 26 July 1894, 1)
unnamed street, residence for W.B. Tisdale, 1895 (C.R., vi, 2 May 1895, 1)
unnamed street, residence for Preston Hallan, 1895 (C.R., vi, 30 May 1895, 1)
unnamed street, residence for D. Quail, 1896 (C.R., vi, 23 Jan. 1896, 2)
unnamed street, residence for Dr. Diggle, 1896 (C.R., vii, 30 July 1896, 2)
FIRE HALL, Peter Street, 1896 (C.R., vii, 11 June 1896, 2)
SOUTH WARD SCHOOL, major addition and second storey, 1897 (C.R., viii, 22 April 1897, 2)
ROMAN CATHOLIC CONVENT, adjacent to Guardian Angels Church, 1902 (C.R., xiii, 16 April 1902, 2)
(with J.H. Hoy) YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION, 1905 (C.R., xvi, 5 July 1905, 2, t.c.)
(with J.H. Hoy) PETER STREET, commercial block with bank for R.R. Slaven, 1906 (C.R., xvii, 18 April 1906, 2)
COUCHICHING BEACH PARK, Bandstand, 1909; Bathouse and Pavilion, 1911 (Orillia Times, 24 June 1909, 1, descrip.; C.R., xxv, 31 May 1911, 59, t.c.)
CARNEGIE LIBRARY, Market Square, 1909 (C.R., xxiii, 1 Sept. 1909, 21, t.c.; Canadian Builder & Carpenter [Toronto], iii, April 1913, 42, illus.)

ELSEWHERE

COLDWATER, ONT., residence for William J. Sheppard, River Street, 1886 (Orillia Packet, 20 Aug. 1886, 4)
BRACEBRIDGE, ONT., residence for Sheriff Bettes, 1889 (C.A.B., ii, Oct. 1889, 119)
HUNTSVILLE, ONT., May Block, Main Street, a commercial block for H.S. May, 1889; burned 1894 (C.R., i, 27 Nov. 1889, 2)
PRESENT ISLAND, in Georgian Bay, residence for A.M. Dodge, c. 1895 (Orillia Packet & Times, 22 March 1934, 1 & 4, list of works in biog.)
BRACEBRIDGE, ONT., major addition to the Dominion Hotel, 1895 (C.R., vi, 21 March 1895, 1)
BRACEBRIDGE, ONT., Anglican Church, 1895 (C.R., vi, 30 May 1895, 1)
LINDSAY, ONT., Fire Hall, 1898 (C.R., ix, 16 March 1898, 3)
COLDWATER, ONT., Presbyterian Church, 1898 (C.R., ix, 21 Sept. 1898, 4)
RAGGED RAPIDS, ONT., power house and engineer's residence, 1899 (C.R., x, 24 May 1899, 2)
MIDLAND, ONT., major addition to West Ward School, 1899 (C.R., x, 8 Nov. 1899, 2)
MARA, ONT., public school for S.S. 6, 1900 (C.R., xi, 20 June 1900, 3)
MIDLAND, ONT., major addition to the Queen's Hotel, 1900 (C.R., xi, 3 Oct. 1900, 2)
MAGNETAWAN, ONT., major addition to McKinnon House Hotel, 1900 (C.R., xi, 3 Oct. 1900, 2)
ALLANDALE, ONT., Presbyterian Church, 1901 (C.R., xii, 19 June 1901, 3)
WAUBAUSHENE, ONT., summer residence for W.J. Sheppard, 1902 (C.R., xiii, 16 April 1902, 2)
E. LONG MFR. CO., foundry, 1903 (C.R., xiv, 1 April 1903, 2, t.c.)
(with J.H. Hoy) COLDWATER, ONT., residence for J.W. Garratt, 1905 (C.R., xvi, 29 March 1905, 2)