Black, Henry Nelson

BLACK, Henry Nelson (1854-1922) was a Boston architect who, with his partner Gridley J.F. Bryant, established an office in Saint John, N.B. shortly after the Great Fire there on 20 June 1877 (see list of works under Bryant & Black). Born at Malden, Massachusetts on 1 August 1854 he graduated from the Boston School of Technology in 1872 and worked in the office of Bryant & Rogers for five years as foreman and designer. In early 1877 he formed a partnership with his former employer in Boston and moved to Saint John, New Brunswick to take charge of the branch office of the firm. On the dissolution of their partnership he commenced practice on his own behalf in early 1878 (Daily Telegraph [Saint John], 5 Jan 1878, 3). By late 1880 he had left Saint John and taken up residence in Fredericton, N.B. where he was ' the service of the Attorney-General of the province and built churches, dwellings and other edifices'. He was also active in Woodstock, N.B. in 1883-84 where he 'practically rebuilt the town after its destruction by fire'. Black then moved to Eastport, Maine in October 1886 where many of his designs were used in the rebuilding of Water Street after the town centre had been destroyed by fire. Among the nineteen buildings which he planned there were the Masonic Block (1888) and the Beckett Block.

In 1890 Black left New England and moved to the west coast of the United States, settling at Fairhaven, Washington where he formed a partnership with Frank Longstaff, his colleague from Boston who has also worked in G.J.F. Bryant's office. In 1895 Black relocated in Montana and submitted plans in the competition for the State Capitol Building at Helena, but his proposal was passed over in favour of the scheme by George R. Mann of St. Louis. Black took up residence in Anaconda, Montana where his career flourished, and he designed the Methodist Church, remodeled the City Hall, and planned the Hospital Annex to the State Insane Asylum. He continued to live and work under his own name, and then in partnership with Joseph N. Smith, as Smith & Black, Architects, and he later established dual offices with his old friend Frank Longstaff of Missoula, as Black & Longstaff, with Black serving clients in Anaconda, and Longstaff living and working in Missoula. Their best-known work was the Renaissance Revival design for the Cascade County Court House in Great Falls, Montana (1901-02). In 1903, it was announced that H.N. Black would move once again, this time to Spokane, Washington (Spokesman-Review [Spokane], 9 Oct. 1903, 5), but he was restless, and constantly on the move looking for new architectural commissions; within one year, he had moved to Moscow, Idaho, where he designed First Methodist Church (1904), one of the most significant examples of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture to be found in that state. This was followed by an equally impressive design for First Methodist Church at Lewiston, Idaho (1907-09).

By 1909, Black had shifted his office to Oregon, where he lived and worked in Portland, choosing to focus on his specialty of ecclesiastical design. He obtained commissions for Methodist churches in Pendleton, in Portland, and in Salem, Oregon during the period from 1909 to 1912. Few references to the work of H.N. Black after 1914 have been found, and he died after a lengthy illness at Great Falls, Montana on 28 October 1922 (obituary in the Great Falls Tribune, 29 Oct. 1922; biography in Progressive Men of the State of Montana, 1902, 999-1000; inf. Montana Historical Society, Helena, Mont.)

Henry N. BLACK (works in Saint John, N.B. unless noted)

PRINCE WILLIAM STREET, commercial block for J. McKoskery, 1877 (Daily News [Saint John], 29 Nov. 1877, 3)
PORTLAND, commercial block on Main Street for William Gray, Robert C. Gordon and Mrs. John McJunkin, 1878 (Saint John Daily Telegraph, 15 Feb. 1878, 2, t.c.; Daily News [Saint John], 4 July 1878, 3, descrip. but incorrectly attributed to 'William C. Black, Architect' [sic]
HOGAN & WALSH'S SALOON, in the Magee Block, Water Street, 1878 (The Torch, i, 6 April 1878, 116, descrip.)
KING SQUARE, facing Sydney Street, block of seven houses for C.A. Robertson, 1878 (Daily News [Saint John], 5 Nov. 1878, 3, descrip.)
(with William P. Clarke) UNION STREET OPERA HOUSE, 1878 (Saint John Daily Telegraph, 29 Oct. 1878, 11 Dec. 1878, 3)
LINCOLN, N.S., Methodist Church, 1880 (Daily Sun [Saint John], 9 June 1880, 3, descript.)

LONGSTAFF & BLACK (works in Washington State, USA)

BELLINGHAM, WASH., 'Wardner's Castle', a large residence for James Wardner, 15th Street at Knox Street, 1890 (R. Kirk & C. Alexander, Exploring Washington's Past, 1995, 220)
BELLINGHAM, WASH., The Longstaff & Black House, a large residence divided into two units, one for Frank Langstaff, architect, and one for Henry N. Black, architect, Gambier Street, 1890 (R. Kirk & C. Alexander, Exploring Washington's Past, 1995, 220)
FAIRHAVEN, WASH., mansion for Roland Gambwell, 16th Street at Douglas Street, 1892 (R. Kirk & C. Alexander, Exploring Washington's Past, 1995, 220-21, illus. & descrip.)

Henry N. BLACK (works in Montana, USA)

MISSOULA, MONT., Garden City Bottling Co., Higgins Avenue at Cedar Street, commercial block with a theatre and several retail stores, 1895 (Anaconda Standard, 1 July 1895, 6)
MISSOULA, MONT., Yerrick Block, Higgins Avenue "....north of the Oddfellows Block", a commercial block for W.H. Yerrick, 1897 (Anaconda Standard, 28 May 1897, 10; 15 July 1897, 10, detailed descrip.)
ANACONDA, MONT., MacCallum & Cloutier Block, East Park Avenue at Chestnut Street, 1898; altered c. 1970; still standing in 2020 (Anaconda Standard, 28 Feb. 1898, 3, t.c.; Butte Daily Post, 26 July 1898, 6, descrip.)
ANACONDA, MONT., a two storey commercial block for Mrs. Lizzie Vollenweider, Commercial Avenue at Chestnut Street, 1898 (Anaconda Standard, 18 July 1898, 3, t.c.)
ANACONCA, MONT., Montana Meat Co. Main Street at Commercial Avenue, alterations and remodeling of existing building, 1899 (Daily Inter Mountain [Butte], 14 Sept. 1899, 6, descrip.)
ANACONDA, MONT., Davidson Block, a two storey addition to the existing Block, originally built in 1898, for T.C. Davidson, East Park Avenue, with rear addition by H.N. Black facing onto Cherry Street, 1900 (Anaconda Standard, 25 June 1900, 4, t.c.)
ANACONDA, MONT., residence for J.A. Lewis, Sixth Street at Hickory Street, 1900 (Anaconda Standard, 5 Aug. 1900, 5, t.c.)
GREAT FALLS, MONT., First Methodist Church, designed 1900; built in 1901 (Great Falls Tribune, 16 Sept. 1900, 5, illus. & descrip.; 25 Sept. 1900, 10)
ANACONDA, MONT., commercial block for Joseph Bolkovatz, Birch Street at Park Avenue, 1901 (Anaconda Standard, 28 March 1901, 2, t.c.)
ANACONDA, MONT., a two storey wood frame block for Charles T. O'Donnell, 1901 (Anaconda Standard, 16 July 1901, 4, t.c.)
ANACONDA, MONT., a two storey block for William Helliher, 1901 (Anaconda Standard, 30 July 1901, 5, t.c.)

SMITH & BLACK (works in Montana, USA)

ANACONDA, MONT., Walsh & Toole Block, c. 1896 (Anaconda Standard, 17 Dec. 1899, 16, list of works by Smith & Black)
ANACONDA, MONT., Peckham & Frinke Block, East Park Avenue, c. 1896; demol. (Anaconda Standard, 17 Dec. 1899, 16, list of works by Smith & Black)
ANACONDA, MONT., Strickfaden Block, c. 1896 (Anaconda Standard, 17 Dec. 1899, 16, list of works by Smith & Black)
ANACONDA, MONT., Durston Block, Main Street, c. 1896; later destroyed by fire (Anaconda Standard, 17 Dec. 1899, 16, list of works by Smith & Black)
ANACONDA, MONT., Deer Lodge County, a new County Jail, and major alterations and improvements to the Court House & City Hall, East Commercial Avenue at Cedar Street, 1897 (Anaconda Standard, 5 Feb. 1897, 2, t.c.)
ANACONDA, MONT., First Methodist Episcopal Church, Oak Street at East 3rd Street, major additions, alterations and interior remodeling, 1897 (Anaconda Standard, 22 April 1897, 2, t.c.)
ANACONDA, MONT., Lincoln Public School, 1897-98 (Anaconda Standard, 31 Oct. 1897, 3, t.c.; Butte Daily Post, 26 July 1898, 6, descrip.)

BLACK & LONGSTAFF (works in Montana)

WARM SPRINGS, MONT., Hospital at the State Insane Asylum, 1899; demol. (Anaconda Standard, 19 Nov. 1899, 22, illus. and detailed descrip.)
BUTTE, MONT., Columbus Park, a natatorium [swimming pool] and dance pavilion for the Butte Improvement Co., 1900, located ".....on the flats, about 3 miles from the Montana Union Railroad" (Butte Miner, 10 May 1900, 8)
GREAT FALLS, MONT., Cascade County Court House, 2nd Avenue North at 4th Street North, 1901-02 (Anaconda Standard, 30 June 1901, 4; and 21 Dec. 1902, Section Four, p. 13, illus. and detailed descrip.)

Henry N. BLACK (works in Idaho, Montana and Oregon)

MOSCOW, IDAHO, First Methodist Church, East 3rd Street at Adams Street, 1903-04 (Spokesman-Review [Spokane], 10 April 1904, 25, illus. & descrip.)
MOSCOW, IDAHO, two new buildings on the campus of the University of Idaho, including Morrill Hall, 1906-07 (Lewiston Evening Teller, 22 March 1906, 8; and 4 April 1906, 5)
LEWISTON, IDAHO, First Methodist Episcopal Church, 6th Avenue at 8th Street, a commission won in a competition in 1906; built 1907-09 (Lewiston Evening Teller, 4 April 1906, 5; 4 May 1906, 7, descrip.; 15 Jan. 1907, 7; Oregon Daily Journal [Portland], 9 Feb. 1910, 2, descrip.)
GREAT FALLS, MONT., a large residence for Lee M. Ford, 4th Avenue North, at 4th Street, 1908 (USA, National Register of Historic Places, designated on 27 June 1990)
PORTLAND, OREGON, Sunnyside Methodist Episcopal Church, SE 35th Street at Yamhill Street, 1909 (Oregon Daily Journal [Portland], 14 Aug. 1909, 3, descrip.)
SALEM, OREGON, Lee Methodist Church, Winter Street at Jefferson Street NE, 1911-12 (Statesman-Journal [Salem], 15 Oct. 1960, 3, historical article on the church)