Sankey, Eben Wallace

SANKEY, Eben Wallace (1882-1948) of Victoria, B.C. where he was in partnership with William d’Oyly Rochfort in 1912-13 (see list of works under Rochfort & Sankey). Born in Salem, Missouri on 2 June 1882, he move to the Seattle area after 1900 and was recorded as an architect in North Yakima, Washington in 1904 to 1907 (William T. Comstock, The Architects’ Directory, 1904-05, 102; and 1907, 115). By 1908 he was working in Seattle in partnership with Gustaf A. Edelsvard, and they completed the design for the Arctic Brotherhood Building at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle (1909; demol. 1929).

In 1912 he was invited by the British-born architect William d’Oyly Rochfort to join him a new partnership in Victoria, B.C. and to assist him with a major theatre project there. Sankey was considered to be “ expert theatrical architect, who had previously been employed as an assistant upon the design of a large number of modern theatres on the coast which were built in the last four years, among them the new K & E Theatre [in Seattle], the Metropolitan Opera House at Seattle, the Portland Theatre, and the American Music Hall at Spokane” (biographical note on Sankey in the Daily Colonist [Victoria], 23 June 1912, 7). He also appears to have been a capable delineator and draftsman, and his interior perspective drawing, signed “E.W. Sankey” showing the proposed Victoria Opera House was published in the Daily Colonist [Victoria], 29 June 1912, 11, illus.

Sankey moved to Victoria and collaborated on several projects with Rochfort including the Royal Theatre (1912-14), the Kinemacolour Theatre (1913), and McBride’s Theatre (1913). Their collaboration ended in 1914. Sankey left Victoria in early 1915 and returned to Seattle to continue is career. By 1924 he was living and working as an architect in Alhambra, Calif., and in 1935 he was recorded as an architect in San Diego. In 1940 he was residing in Los Angeles, and later died there on 2 July 1948 (death notice Los Angeles Times, 4 July 1948). He was buried at Forest Lawn Mortuary in Los Angeles (biog. inf. on Sankey in D. Luxton, Building The West: The Early Architects of British Columbia, 2003, 357; 516; biog. in J.K. Ochsner, Shaping Seattle Architecture, 2014, 473)

(works by E.W. Sankey in Washington State)

NORTH YAKIMA, WASH., Methodist Episcopal Church, 1904. Sankey was one of five architects who submitted plans in the competition for this large church to cost $40,000 (Yakima Herald [North Yakima], 24 Feb. 1904, 1). Other designs were sent in by architects from Akron, Ohio, from Portland, Ore., and from Tacoma, Wash. It is unclear if Sankey won the commission.
NORTH YAKIMA, WASH., large residence for John Kennedy, on Nob Hill, 1904 (Yakima Herald [North Yakima], 21 Sept. 1904, 3)
NORTH YAKIMA, WASH., Woodmen of the World Fraternal Hall, 1905-06 (Yakima Herald [North Yakima], 27 Dec. 1905, 5, descrip.)