Kent, Edward Austin

KENT, Edward Austin (1854-1912), a prominent architect in Buffalo, N.Y. who was called in by the Toronto Board of Trade to assist them with the completion of their headquarters in Toronto, Ont. after the original building, designed by James & James, of New York, suffered a partial collapse during construction. Born in Bangor, Maine on 19 February 1854, Kent graduated from the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University in 1875, then moved to Europe where he studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, and at the School of Design in South Kensington, London. He returned to the United States in 1877 and trained in the office Joseph L. Silsbee of Syracuse, N.Y. before moving to Chicago in 1882 to manage the branch office of Silsbee as a partner in the firm of Silsbee & Kent. Their collaboration ended in 1884 when Kent moved to Buffalo to open his own office in early 1885. His best known works there include The Kent House Hotel at Lakewood, Chautauqua, N.Y. (1888), and Temple Beth-Zion, Buffalo (1891), and the Unitarian Church, Buffalo (1904). Kent died in the sinking of the Titanic off the coast of Newfoundland on 14 April 1912 (obit. Buffalo Evening News, 16 April 1912; Democrat & Chronicle [Rochester], 28 April 1912, 1; obit. R.I.B.A. Journal [London], xix, 27 April 1912, 462-63; biog. H. Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects, 1956, 340-41; inf. Martin Wachadlo, Buffalo). His successor was his son, Edwin S. Kent, of Bangor, Maine, who later designed two landmark buildings in Quebec province.

CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y., Kent House Hotel, at Lakewood, near Jamestown, 1887-88 (American Architect & Building News [Boston], xxiii, 30 June 1888, 306-07, descrip. & illus.)
BUFFALO, N.Y., Temple Beth Zion, 1891 (Inland Architect [Chicago], xvii, Feb. 1891, 16, illus.; Architectural Record [New York], i, April 1892, 393, 395, 397-98, illus.)
TORONTO, ONT., completion of the Toronto Board of Trade Building, Front Street East at Yonge Street, initially designed by James & James of New York City, but damaged due to a structural collapse while under construction, and completed by E.A. Kent in 1890 (Globe [Toronto], 21 March 1890, 8; 22 March 1890, 20; C.A.B., iii, May 1890, 53)
BUFFALO, N.Y., Fire House No. 5, Cleveland Avenue, 1895 (Reyner Banham et al, Buffalo Architecture: A Guide, 1981, 158, illus.)
BUFFALO, N.Y., Otto Department Store, Main Street, 1896-97 (American Architect & Building News [Boston], lii, 11 April 1896, 18, descrip. and plate illus.; Inland Architect [Chicago], xxvii, June 1896, 50, descrip. and illus.)
BUFFALO, N.Y., Unitarian Church, Elmwood Avenue, 1904 (Brickbuilder [Boston], xviii, Jan. 1909, 7, illus.; Reyner Banham et al, Buffalo Architecture: A Guide, 1981, 157, illus.)


TORONTO, ONT., City Hall & Court House, 1885. During the first round of this civic competition, Kent competed against nearly 50 other architects from the United States and Canada for this important public building (Globe [Toronto], 16 March 1886, 8, list of competitors). All the entries were later set aside and a second competition of seven finalists was called in late 1886. Kent complained publicly about the mismanagement of the first round and the flawed judging process. The eventual winner of the second competition was Edward J. Lennox.
MONTREAL, QUE., Montreal Board of Trade Building, 1891. E.A. Kent collaborated with his brother William W. Kent to prepare an impressive Richardsonian Romanesque design for this international competition. They were one of six American firms invited to submit plans for this important project, and they received $300 for their effort. A perspective view of their scheme was published in the American Architect & Building News [Boston], xxxii, 18 April 1891, plate illus. Their entry was later set aside and Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge of Boston were declared the winners (Montreal Daily Star, 25 Feb. 1891, 6, list of competitors).