Fellheimer & Wagner

FELLHEIMER & WAGNER, a prominent American architectural firm with offices in New York City from 1924 until after 1950. The partnership consisted of Alfred T. Fellheimer (1875-1959) and his business partner Steward Wagner (1886-1958). Both were active in the following firms:

Stem & Fellheimer, New York, 1913
Fellheimer & Long, New York, 1914-16
Alfred Fellheimer, New York 1916 to 1923
Fellheimer & Wagne, New York, 1924 to 1942
Fellheimer, Wagner & Vollmer, New York, 1942-c. 1958

Fellheimer was born in Chicago, Ill. in 1875 and graduated with a B. Sc. degree in architecture from the Univ. of Illinois in 1895. He trained under Frost & Granger in Chicago, then joined Reed & Stem who, with Warren & Wetmore, prepared the design for Grand Central Station in New York City (built 1904-10). It was there that Fellheimer gained extensive experience in designing railway stations, and after the death of Reed in 1911, both Stem and Fellheimer formed a new partnership. Their collaboration was brief, and in 1914 Fellheimer joined with Birch Burdette Long, a brilliant delineator and draftsman, but their collaboration ended in 1916.

In 1924 he formed a partnership with Steward Wagner, a native of Texas who had attended the School of Architecture at Columbia University in New York in 1907-09 and later trained in the offices of leading New York architects including Henry Hornbostel, Henry V.B. Magonigle, and with Tracy & Swartwout. Their major works in Canada included a proposal for the redevelopment of Windsor Station in Montreal, Que. (1930, but not built), and the passenger station and railway terminal at Hamilton, Ont. for the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway Co. (1931-33). In the United States, their important commissions include the sprawling Union Railway Terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio (1933), now considered one of masterpieces of Art Deco architecture in the United States. They also designed railway stations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, as well as the New Jersey Turnpike Toll Buildings, the Queen’s College Science Building, and the Allied Chemical Co. Laboratories in Morristown, New Jersey.

Fellheimer was an acknowledged expert on the design of railway terminal buildings, and during his career his office produced drawings for over 30 passenger terminals in the United States and Canada. In 1923 he authored a lengthy and influential essay entitled “The Design of the Railway Terminal Station” which was published in the Toronto construction journal called The Engineering & Contract Record, xxxvii, 22 August 1923, 823-24 & 826, and 29 August 1923, 844-46. This helped to establish him a leading authority on the subject, and he was instrumental in introducing progressive modernist design concepts to the typology of the railway station, rejecting the unfashionable and outdated Beaux-Arts style which has prevailed for nearly four decades. He was later elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1935. After WWII, Fellheimer continued to practise, and he was the author of a well-know book on contemporary design entitled Forms and Functions of 20th Century Architecture, published in 1952. He died in New York City on 30 March 1959 (biog. for A.T. Fellheimer in Who Was Who in America 1951-60, iii, 1960, 275; inf. American Inst. of Architects, Washington, Membership Records).

Steward Wagner was born in Marlin Falls, Texas on 26 December 1886 and he operated his own firm in New York City from 1915 to 1921 before forming a partnership with Fellheimer in 1924. He was elected as a Fellow of the A.I.A. in 1936, and later died in New York City on 27 June 1958 (obituary A.I.A Journal [Washington], xxx, Sept. 1958, 70). The Avery Architectural Library at Columbia University in New York City holds a collection of over 1,300 original drawings by Fellheimer, and by Fellheimer & Wagner, documenting more than 30 railway terminals designed by their firm.

(works in Canada)

MONTREAL, QUE., proposal for the rebuilding of Windsor Station for the Canadian Pacific Railway, with a new 50 storey hotel above the entire block, July 1930, but not built (Isabelle Gournay and F. Vanlaethem, Montreal Metropolis 1880-1930, 1998, 181-82, illus. & descrip., with notes p. 204; dwgs. at C.P.R. Archives, Montreal)
HAMILTON, ONT., Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway Station, Hunter Street at Hughson Street, designed 1930; built 1931-33; renovated and restored in 1996; still standing as of 2018 and now used as an intercity transit hub by the Government of Ontario commuter trains and buses (Canadian Railway & Marine World [Montreal], xxxiii, Oct. 1930, 631-33, illus. & descrip.; xxxv, Dec. 1932, 627-29, illus. & descrip.; Engineering & Contract Record [Toronto], xlvii, 30 Aug. 1933, 819-27, illus. & descrip.; Const., xxvi, Sept.-October 1933, 106-08, 112-17, illus. & descrip.; Railway Age [New York], xcvi, 20 Jan. 1934, 66-70, illus. & descrip.; H. Kalman, History of Canadian Architecture, 1994, 780-81, illus. & descrip.)