Ernest Flagg (February 6, 1857 – April 10, 1947) was a noted
American architect in the Beaux-Arts style. He was also an advocate
for urban reform and architecture's social responsibility.
1 Early life and education
2 Professional career
3 Personal life
5 Selected writings
7 Further reading
8 External links
Early life and education
Flagg was born in Brooklyn, New York. His father Jared Bradley Flagg
was an Episcopal priest and a notable painter. Ernest left
school at 15 to work as an office boy on Wall Street. After working
with his father and brothers in real estate for a few years, he
designed duplex apartment plans in 1880 with the architect Philip
Gengembre Hubert, for the co-operative apartment buildings Hubert was
Cornelius Vanderbilt II, Flagg's cousin through his marriage to Alice
Claypoole Gwynne, was impressed by Flagg's work and sent him to
study at the
École des Beaux-Arts
École des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1889–1891, under
In 1891, Flagg began his architectural practice in New York, greatly
influenced by his knowledge of the French ideas of architectural
design, such as structural rationalism.
During this time he joined with
John Prentiss Benson to create Flagg
& Benson, which later became Flagg, Benson & Brockway with the
addition of Albert Leverett Brockway. FB&B designed St. Luke's
Hospital in New York City.
In 1894, he established the architectural firm of Flagg & Chambers
with Walter B. Chambers, whom he met in Paris. Usually, Flagg alone
credited for some of the work he and Chambers worked on together, such
as the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the U.S. Naval Academy, and Pomfret
School in Connecticut which he saw as "part of the process of
evolution that would contribute to the creation of a national style of
Louisa Flagg Scribner, Flagg's sister, was the wife of Charles
Scribner II. Through this familial connection, Flagg designed six
structures located in Manhattan for the publishing family.
His contributions to zoning and height regulations were essential to
New York's first laws governing this aspect of the city's
architecture. Flagg argued in favor of zoning laws which would
regulate the height and setback of buildings, to allow light and air
to reach the streets below them. He was a president of the New York
Society of Beaux-Arts Architects. A small collection of Flagg's
personal and professional papers is held in the Department of Drawings
& Archives at
Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at
Ernest Flagg married Margaret E. Bonnell on June 27, 1899 in New York
City. They had one daughter, Margaret Elizabeth, who became a
well-respected small-scale portrait painter and is known
professionally as Betsy Flagg Melcher.
In 1912, Mr. and Mrs.
Ernest Flagg were on their way to a party held
by Stowe Phelps, a fellow architect, when their limousine struck and
killed a boy (James McNamara) who had suddenly skated in front of the
car. The couple drove the boy to the hospital but he died en
The Singer Building, once the tallest building in the world
Scribner Building, New York City, 1893
Unused plan for the
Washington State Capitol
Washington State Capitol at Olympia, Washington,
Pomfret School campus plan, School House and dormitories, early
1900's, and the school's Clark Memorial Chapel, 1908 Pomfret,
Gov. Samuel J. Tilden Monument, New Lebanon, New York, 1895–1896
St. Nicholas Skating Rink, 69 West 66th Street, New York – 1896
St. Luke's Hospital, New York City, 1896
Mills House No. 1, New York City, 1896
Mills House No. 2, New York City, 1897
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1897
Indian Neck Hall, estate of Frederick Gilbert Bourne, Oakdale, New
Engine Co. No. 33, New York City, 1898
Ernest Flagg residence, gatehouse and gate, Staten Island, New York,
Cherokee Apartments, New York City, 1900
Armenian General Benevolent Union of America, New York City, c. 1900
Charlesbank Apartments, Boston, Massachusetts, c. 1900, demolished c.
Sheldon Library (now admissions office), St. Paul's School, Concord,
New Hampshire, 1901
Lawrence Library, Pepperell, Massachusetts, 1901
Regency Whist Club, New York City, 1904
The Towers, a "castle" on Dark Island, St. Lawrence Seaway, 1905
Buildings at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland,
Bancroft Hall (1901–1906), the Naval Academy Chapel
(1908), Mahan Hall, Maury Hall, Sampson Hall, and the Superintendent's
"Little" Singer Building, New York City, 1907
311 West 43rd Street, New York City (Originally the Charles Scribner's
Sons printing plant), 1908
Singer Building, New York City, 1908, demolished 1968
Princeton University Press
Princeton University Press building, Princeton, NJ, 1911
Charles Scribner Residence, later Polish Delegation to the United
Nations, New York City, 1912
Charles Scribner's Sons Building, New York City, 1913
Merrill House, Vinegar Hill Historic District, Bloomington, Indiana,
Celtic Park apartments, Queens, New York, 1930
Flagg Court housing development, Brooklyn, New York, 1933–36
Rufus Arndt House, Wisconsin
Small Houses: Their Economic Design and Construction (1922)
Le Naos du Parthenon (1928)
^ Bacon, Mardges (1986). Ernest Flagg: Beaux-arts Architect and Urban
^ Flagg, Ernest. Genealogical Notes on the Founding of New England: My
Ancestors Part in that Undertaking. Hartford, Conn., 1926, p. 135.
^ Flagg, Lucius C.S. Family Records of the Descendants of Gershom
Flagg. Quincy, Ill., 1907, pp. 125, 128.
^ Eighth Generation Archived 2009-11-23 at the Wayback Machine.
Descendants of Bartholomew Flegg & Graff, Rebecca Irwin."Genealogy
of the Claypoole Family of Philadelphia." Philadelphia, Pa., 1893, pp.
124 & 145.
^ Albert L Brockway
^ Bacon, Mardges (1986). Ernest Flagg: beaux-arts architect and urban
reformer (!st ed.). MIT press. pp. 134–137.
^ "Streetscapes/The Charles Scribner House; A Quintessential Flagg
Building Is Being Restored".
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^ Fire Engine Co. 67 Landmarks Preservation Commission
^ Betsey Flagg Melcher Archived 2011-06-07 at the Wayback Machine.
Luce Foundation Center for American Art.
^ "BOY SKATER KILLED BY DINERS' AUTO; Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Flagg's Car
Runs Down Lad at Stowe Phelps's Door." New York Times, February 24,
^ Pierce, J. Kingston. "Olympia Capitol — A History of the
Building". historylink.org. HistoryLink. Retrieved October 1,
^ Bacon, Mardges (1986). Ernest Flagg: beaux-arts architect and urban
reformer (1st ed.). MIT Press. pp. 134–137.
^ "Philadelphia Architects and Buildings". Philadelphiabuildings.org.
The Athenaeum of Philadelphia. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
^ White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot; Leadon, Fran, AIA Guide to New
York City, Oxford University Press, 2010. Cf. p.358.
^ "STREETSCAPES: A Skating Rink/Boxing Ring, And a Wild and Crazy
Facade", The New York Times, February 6, 2005
^ "Bulging Buildings: Cantilevers Make a Comeback". New York Sun. July
3, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-25. In 1908,
Ernest Flagg designed one of
Lower Manhattan's most distinctive skyscrapers for the Singer
Manufacturing Company, at Broadway and Liberty Street ...
Vinegar Hill Historic District
Vinegar Hill Historic District (105-055-77001-77061) Archived
2011-07-21 at the Wayback Machine.. City of Bloomington: Bloomington
Historic Preservation Commission, n.d. Accessed 2011-01-27.
^ Plunz, Richard. A History of Housing in New York City. Columbia
University Press, New York: 1990. P. 213-214.
Flagg, Ernest - Genealogical Notes of the Founding of New England: My
Ancestors Part in that Undertaking Lockwood & Brainard Co. (1926)
Mardges Bacon, Ernest Flagg: Beaux-Arts Architect and Urban Reformer,
MIT Press (1986)
Paul Malo, "Boldt Castle", Laurentian Press (2001)
Paul Malo, "Fools' Paradise", Laurentian Press (2003)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ernest Flagg.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ernest Flagg
Ernest Flagg architectural records and papers, 1888-1972.Held by the
Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural & Fine
Arts Library, Columbia University.
Ernest Flagg at NYC Architecture
Ernest Flagg at MIT Press
Ernest Flagg information at Structurae
Ernest Flagg at the Library of Congress's Historic
American Buildings Survey database
ISNI: 0000 0000 8218 2311
BNF: cb121092381 (data)