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Leigh L. Dougan

Leigh L. Dougan, Architect, [1883-1983]

Leigh L. Dougan was born in Princeton, Indiana on July 28, 1883, the son of Albert F. and Martha (Washington) Dougan, the latter a lineal descendant of George Washington.[1] At age 15, Dougan ran away from his Princeton home because he did not want to take over the family farming and food brokerage business as his father wished. Dougan obtained an architectural education at the Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago.[2] To support his training he worked as an office boy for Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan.[3] At the end of his junior year, he withdrew from Armour to obtain practical experience in his profession and worked two and a half years at the office of J.J. Glandfield in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[4]

In 1911, Dougan moved to Portland where after a short stint with Aaron Gould and A.E. Doyle in 1911, he opened his own office in 1914. A year later he entered into a partnership with Chester A. Houghtaling to form Houghtaling and Dougan. He worked with Mr. Houghtaling until 1925 when he began his own practice. In 1946, he formed a new partnership with Bernard A. Heims and Morton Caine; Dougan, Heims, and Caine.[5]

Gideon Bosker and Lena Lencek, authors of Frozen Music, describe Dougan's achievements "With this string of collaborators and on his own, Dougan would embellish the city with several precious, idiosyncratic edifices that reflected a broad stylistic palate."[6] Professionally, he was known for his authoritative scholarship, which enabled him to draw at will upon the classical styles, for his originality in adapting them to modern usage, and for his skill in both large design and ornamentation.[7] The Virgil and Beulah Crum House is a prime example of his mastery.

The firm of Houghtaling and Dougan designed a number of Portland's well known buildings including the National Registry property the Elks Temple (1920)[8], Washington High School (1923), the Hunt Transfer Company Warehouse (1925), and the Medical Arts Building (1926). The practice also designed a number of buildings outside of Portland including the National Registry property, the Marshfield Hotel in Coos Bay, Oregon (1925).[9] Houghtaling functioned primarily as the engineer for the firm and Dougan was the designer.

The National Registry property, the First National Bank (1926) in Salem, Oregon was one of Dougan's first major projects as a solo practitioner[10]. This was followed by the Monastery at the Sanctuary of the Sorrowful Mother (1926) in Northeast Portland and the Studio Building (1927) in downtown Portland, with its adjoining Guild Theater. It was during this period that Dougan was commissioned to design the residence for Virgil and Beulah Crum at 4438 Northeast Alameda Street (1926). After this, Dougan designed the Medical Dental Building (1928) in downtown Portland which would exhibit a number of Art Deco characteristics that would play an increasingly important role in Dougan's later work.[11] Dougan's other major architectural projects include the Eastern Outfitting Company (1929) in Portland (since razed), the Lafayette Apartments (1930) in Portland, and the Oswego Grade School Building.

With the firm of Dougan, Heims, and Caine, notable designs include the remodeling scheme for Portland's Zell Brothers Jewelers (1949), the State Office Building (1951) in Salem, Oregon, and the Park Plaza Apartments in Portland (1951).[12]

Dougan was also well known as an artist in oils and watercolors and illustrated a weekly series in The Oregonian during the 1930's on Pacific Coast wildlife.[13] Dougan retired from the firm of Dougan, Heims, and Caine when he was in his 80's in 1965 and lived in California until his death at 100 on October 9, 1983.[14].

  1. Carey, Charles. History of Oregon. Volume II. Chicago: Pioneer Historical Publishing Co, 1922, pp. 433-434.
  2. Downs, Winfield Scott (ed.). Encyclopedia of Northwest Biography. New York: American Historical Company, Inc., 1943, pp. 237-238.
  3. Bosker, Gideon and Lencek, Lena. Frozen Music. Portland: Western Imprints, The Press of the Oregon Historical Society, 1985, p. 60.
  4. Carey, History of Oregon, pp. 433-434.
  5. Bosker and Lencek, Frozen Music, p. 60.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Downs, Encyclopedia of Northwest Biography, p. 237.
  8. Norman, James B. Jr. Portland's Architectural Heritage. Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press, 1991, p. 143.
  9. National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form. Marshfield Hotel. 1983.
  10. National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form. First National Bank Building. 1984.
  11. Bosker and Lencek, Frozen Music, p. 62.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Downs, Encyclopedia of Northwest Biography, p. 237.
  14. The Oregonian, obituary, Leigh L. Dougan, October 12, 1983, p. D14.

Adapted from: Alan Brabo and Landon Lane, Virgil and Beulah Crum House, nomination document, 1999, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

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