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Robert Farquhar Train

Robert Farquhar Train, Architect [1869-1951]

Robert Farquhar Train [†]. His father, John Farquhar Train, and mother, Elizabeth (Hood) Train, were natives of Mancheline, Ayr, Scotland, and Derby, England, respectively. The former, who was a commercial traveler, died in Nottingham, England in 1872; the latter died in 1883, age 54. Many of the Trains were prominent in military and political circles in Scotland and England, and of the Hoods, tradition traces them back to the celebrated and probably fictitious Robin Hood, and to the historical figure of the Earl of Huntingdon.

Robert F. Train was born in Nottingham, England, December 4, 1870. In 1884, he accompanied his aunt Susie to the United States and for 3 years lived in Illinois and Nebraska. For nearly a year he was employed as a clerk in a bank, after which he worked as an architectural draughtsman in Denver and Colorado Springs. He attended the University of Illinois, at Champaigne, Illinois, where he pursued a course in architectural engineering. Apparently, he found employment at the 1892-1893 World's Colombian Exposition (also known as the Chicago World's Fair), designing, or assisting in the design of some portion of the White City.

It is also worth noting that after the December, 1910 fire which destroyed the building housing the USC College of Fine Arts in Highland Park, Train and Robert Edmund Williams were commissioned to design the new building. When the USC campus finally absorbed the College of Fine Arts, the building at 200 North Avenue 66 (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) became the home of Judson Studios (the "Tiffany of the West"), and this fact—buttressed by the Arroyo Guild association between Train, Williams and Judson—supports the contention (impossible to prove because a second fire destroyed all written records), that the magnificent examples of stained glass art found throughout the Holmes-Shannon House in Victoria Park were indeed, provided by Judson Studios.

Also supporting this contention is the Train and Williams-designed Robert Williams House at 840 North Avenue 66 in Highland Park (1905) which includes a large panel of stained glass (actually, a light box similar to that in the Holmes-Shannon House) known to have been created by Judson Studios.

† Liza Ellzey and Urik Theer, Holmes-Shannon House, Los Angeles County, CA, nomination document, 2007, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

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