Elmer Feig, Architect [1877-1968]
Elmer Feig [†] was born in Atwater, Minnesota in 1897 and came to Portland, OR in 1910. He attended Portland public schools and the University of Oregon. His initial architectural experience was as a draftsman for Fenner Redicut Homes; he subsequently worked for the G.M. Standifer Construction Company from 1916 to 1919; and was a plans examiner for the City Of Portland from 1919 to 1927. In 1927 he opened the Architectural Services Bureau, which he advertised as specializing in construction planning and supervision.
Feig's budding career as a designer corresponded handily with what was a boom period for apartment construction, not only in Portland but in many cities throughout the United States. In many areas of the country twice as many multi-family dwellings were constructed during the decade of the 1920s than in the previous one. Apartment living had become immensely popular and buildings were designed to accommodate everyone, from low cost, studio units for the working person, such as those in the Oriental Apartments (located at 3562 SE Harrison Street), to much more gracious units such as those in the Hancock Street Fourplex (1414 NE Hancock) constructed in Portland's Irvington neighborhood in 1928. A number of innovations in apartment construction were developed in the 1920s including the evolution of multi-building complexes, garden and landscaped apartments, and buildings constructed with garages (in response to the rapidly increasing number of tenants with automobiles).
Between 1927 and 1931, Feig worked with a number of developers such as J.C. Meyers, Harry Mittleman, S.E. Henderson, and Fred Lindquist designing and constructing large multifamily apartment buildings. The majority of these buildings are located in Northwest Portland and Inner Northeast neighborhoods.
Feig was as prolific in his variety of architectural styles as he was in the sheer number of buildings for which he was commissioned. His designs ran the gamut from handsome interpretations of Egyptian and Art Deco styles to fanciful Moorish designs, and, of course the popular Spanish Revival.
† Jane Morrison, Koler/Morrison Planning Consultants, Lindquist Apartment House, Portland, OR, nomination document, 1992, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.