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John G. Haskell

Architect. Born: February 5, 1832, Milton Vermont. Died: November 25, 1907, Lawrence, Kansas.

John Gideon Haskell is well known in Kansas for having designed many of the state's finest buildings. He is known to be one of just a handful of professional architects in Kansas during the territorial period.

Born February 5, 1832, in Milton, Vermont, John Haskell came to Kansas in July 1857 when he was 25 years old. He followed his family, who had arrived in Lawrence in 1854-1855 with the New England Emigrant Aid Company. John's father passed away in January 1857 and he left school at Brown University in Rhode Island to attend to family affairs. He remained in Lawrence and practiced architecture until his death in 1907

Although not the original designer of the Kansas statehouse, Haskell was appointed to the position of architect and superintendent by the Board of State House Commissioners in March 1867. He took over construction that had begun in October 1866. During his tenure as architect of the state house, Haskell designed and completed the east wing and set the foundation and basement for the central portion of the building.

According to Haskell biographer John M. Peterson, Haskell cannot be pigeonholed as to architectural style...he was an eclectic. His buildings are often a combination of styles prevalent during the period including Romanesque Revival, Second Empire, Classical Revival, and Italianate. He was skilled in designing with stone or brick and his buildings are well detailed and substantial; built to last.

The Douglas County Jail in Lawrence (1859-1860) was the first public structure designed and built by Haskell. He went on to design many important buildings in Kansas including courthouses, university buildings, government buildings, schools, churches, hospitals, and opera houses. He served as president of the Kansas Historical Society in 1900. Find a list of Haskell buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Haskell died November 25, 1907, Lawrence, Kansas.

Entry: Haskell, John G.

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: March 2011

Date Modified: December 2013

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