WARREN, WHITNEY. (1/29/1864—1/24/1943) New York, N.Y.
An architect of prominence in New York from 1896, when
he organized the firm of Warren & Wetmore, until his retirement from
practice in 1931. Born and educated in New York, at the age of eighteen he
went to Paris to study architecture, and while attending Atliers of the Ecole
des Beaux Arts, led the life of a cosmopolite, and became so enamored with
France that he continued to live there for a decade.
In 1896 he returned to
New York and formed a partnership with Charles Wetmore under the name Warren
& Wetmore. The firm’s bid for recognition in the city was made in
submitting plans in a competition for a new home for the New York Club, and
having won the competition, the partners embarked on a career which brought
fame and notoriety to Whitney Warren.
The firm’s first important commission, Grand Central
Terminal in New York was followed by Stations on other Railroad Lines, such as
the Michigan Central, Canadian Northern and Erie Roads, and in New York a new
Office Building for the New York Central, the Chelsea Piers, Steinway
Building, and Aeolian Hall.
Early in the 1900’s Warren & Wetmore established a
reputation in hotel work. Among the firm’s successfully executed designs
were the old Belmont, the Ambassador, Ritz Carlton, the Commodore, Vanderbilt,
and the Biltmore, all in New York, the Ritz Carlton in Atlantic City, the
Belmont, Providence, R.I., Royal Hamilton Hotel in Honolulu, and the Broadmore
in Colorado Springs. While all of these were important commissions, Mr. Warren
took the most pride in having designed the reconstructed Louvain Library in
Belgium, destroyed by the Germans in World War I. The dedication of the
building in 1928 led to an international controversy because of Warren’s
insistence on an inscription placing on the Germans the guilt of having
destroyed the building— “Furore Teutonica Diruta; Dono Americano Restituta”
(destroyed by German fury; restored by American generosity).
Although Mr. Warren gave up professional practice in
1931, he was frequently called upon the serve as Consultant on public
projects, and retained his studio in the Beaux Arts Building on West 44th
Street as Office headquarters. A co–founder of the Beaux Arts Institute of
Design and a Director for many years, he remained active in its affairs, and
originated the famous Annual Ball, parties over which he presided until they
were given up in 1937. One of his chief characteristics was an intense
individualism, both in his professional career and social life.
—References: Obit., New York Herald–Tribune, 1/25/1943: Who Was
Who in America, 1943–1950.
WETMORE, CHARLES D. (1867&151;5/9/1941) New York,
Formerly a partner of the later Whitney Warren, and
under the firm name of Wetmore & Warren established a reputation in
designing modern hotel buildings in New York and other cities.
Mr. Wetmore was a native of Elmira, N.Y., and after
attending the city schools completed a formal education at Harvard, where he
was graduated in 1889. During five succeeding years he studied architecture in
New York., subsequently joined Whitney Warren in partnership. Two of the
firm’s major works were the New York Central R.R. Terminal and the adjoining
Biltmore Hotel, while other important buildings erected from the firm’s
plans include the Aeolian Hall, and the following Hotels: the Ritz Carlton,
the Commodore; Ambassador; the Vanderbilt (1912), and additions to the Plaza
Hotel, all in New York. Warren & also designed the Ritz Carlton in
Atlantic city, N.J., the Belmont in Providence, R.I., the Westchester, Rye,
N.Y., the Broadmoore, Colorado Springs, Colo., and the Royal Hawaiian in
Honolulu, completed in 1937.
— References: Obit., New York Times, 5/10/1941.
[The above citations are from: Henry F. and Elsie Rathburn
Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased)
(Los Angeles: Hennessey & Ingalls, Inc. 1970; facsimile of 1956 edition),
pp. 636–637 and p.647.]
Whitney Warren [1864-1943] was a cousin of the
Vanderbilts. After deciding to study architecture in 1883, he enrolled at
Columbia University but stayed for only one year. In 1884, he left for Paris
to attend the »cole des Beaux Arts and remained for ten years, studying under
Daumet and Girault. Warren returned to New York in 1894 and, with
characteristic resourcefulness, convinced one of his first clients, a lawyer
named Charles Wetmore [1867-1941], to become his partner. The new firm's bid
for recognition came in 1899 when the New York Yacht Club [an organization
familiar to William K. Vanderbilt, II] held a competition for a new clubhouse.
Warren & Wetmore received the commission, and as a result, established
their reputation in New York.
Almost immediately, the firm was engaged as architects
for the New York Central, Michigan Central and Erie and Canadian Northern
Railroads. They were responsible for the design of the entire Grand Central
Terminal Group, which began with the design of the Grand Central Station
[1903-1913] and ended with the New York Central Office Building . The
complex included several Vanderbilt-financed hotels, among them the Vanderbilt
, the Biltmore  and Hotel Commodore .
Considering these associations with the Vanderbilt
family, it is reasonable to attribute the 1910 design of "Eagle's
Nest" to Warren & Wetmore, although documentary evidence has yet to
be found that confirms this attribution. Stylistically, the original buildings
on the estate did resemble some of the early work that the firm produced on
Long Island, such as the outbuildings for Clarence MacKay's "Harbor
Hill" in Roslyn . In addition, although no records have been
located for the first phase of the mansion's construction, later blueprints
and drawings confirm that the firm was commissioned in various capacities from
1926 until 1930. During this period, Warren & Wetmore also designed the
Deepdale Golf and Country Club in Great Neck  for William K. Vanderbilt
II. It was also in the "Spanish" style.