Tower, Ashley Bemis

TOWER, Ashley Bemis (1847-1901), a well-known American architect and engineer who specialized in the design of paper mills, fibre mills, and textile mills, as well as the design of power development and transmission buildings. Born in Windsor, Mass. on 26 June 1847, he was recorded as an architect with an office in Holyoke, Mass. in 1879 and, for a time, served as City Engineer of that town. He was joined in practise by his brother D.H. Tower after 1880, and by 1890 their firm dominated the field of paper mill building design, and they were credited with the design of nearly all the paper mill buildings erected in New England from 1870 to 1895. A full description of their successful office, with biographical details of the architect, appeared in local history book entitled Picturesque Hampden, 1892, page 133, edited by Charles F. Warner and published by the local Picturesque Pub. Co. of Northampton, Mass. (this publication is now online).

By 1898 Tower had opened an office in New York, in partnership with Joseph Wallace (Dennis S. Francis, Architects in Practice in New York City 1840-1900, 1979, 76) and the firm maintained their Manhattan office until 1901. In Canada the name of Tower & Wallace, Architects can be connected with two large industrial buildings in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, including the Romanesque Revival design for the Mill Building (1899-1900) built for the Lake Superior Power Co. This may be the same building which is now called The Machine Shop at Mill Square, restored in 2014-15 as a large entertainment venue. Tower & Wallace also designed the nearby four storey sulphide pulp mill at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., located near the Mill Building, but now derelict. Tower died at Montclair, New Jersey on 8 July 1901 at the age of 54 years (obituary in American Architect & Building News [New York], lxxiii, 20 July 1901, 18; inf. Christopher Tossell, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.). No biographical information has yet been found on Joseph Wallace.

TOWER & WALLACE (New York City)

SAULT STE. MARIE, ONT., a stone mill building, with timber roof and floors, for the Lake Superior Power Co., Huron Street near the St. Mary’s River, 1899-1900 (C.R., x, 6 Sept. 1899, 2, t.c.)
SAULT STE. MARIE, ONT., a sulphide pulp mill for the Sault Ste. Marie Pulp & Paper Co., Huron Street near the St. Mary’s River, 1899-1900 (C.R., x, 6 Sept. 1899, 2, t.c.)