Jack Colgan, Modern Architect

They really had to know how things fit together, down to the screws.

I dug deeper into the pile of drawings and prints from my former neighbor’s portfolio. It seems like Mr. Colgan worked for a number of years in big offices doing commercial transportation work. There are several beautiful sketches of dining rooms, a theater, lunch counters, and ticket counters. The first thing that struck me (it was the first thing I saw on the first drawing I unfolded) was the vestige of racist segregation in the “colored lunch room” crossed out by hand with the word “omit” written over it. Was this a bold decision to include all races or a crass decision to exclude people of color altogether, never mind give them a segregated lunchroom? The second is the fine level of detail in these works. Fasteners are rendered with threads, washers, drive styles, materials and finishing notes that don’t seem common today in commercial work.

Alcoa Davenport Works (Harrison Abramovitz Architects 45 Rockefeller Plaza) dining room 1946

Alcoa Davenport Works (Harrison Abramovitz Architects 45 Rockefeller Plaza) dining room 1946

Alcoa Davenport Works (Harrison Abramovitz Architects 45 Rockefeller Plaza) theater

Alcoa Davenport Works (Harrison Abramovitz Architects 45 Rockefeller Plaza) theater

Alcoa Davenport Works (Harrison Abramovitz Architects 45 Rockefeller Plaza) title sheet

Alcoa Davenport Works (Harrison Abramovitz Architects 45 Rockefeller Plaza) title sheet

(Union News Company construction dept) Asheville NC Bus Station 1942

(Union News Company construction dept) Asheville NC Bus Station 1942

(Union News Company construction dept) Asheville NC Bus Station ice cream shop and news stand –millwork details 1942

(Union News Company construction dept) Asheville NC Bus Station ice cream shop and news stand –millwork details 1942

(Union News Company construction dept) Asheville NC Bus Station ice cream shop and news stand –signage details 1942

(Union News Company construction dept) Asheville NC Bus Station ice cream shop and news stand –signage details 1942

(Union News Company construction dept)  Union Station Columbus Ohio 1943 *now demolished*

(Union News Company construction dept) Union Station Columbus Ohio 1943 *now demolished*

Union Station, Columbus, Ohio

(Union News Company construction dept)  York PA Pennsylvania RR Station 1943

(Union News Company construction dept) York PA Pennsylvania RR Station 1943

(Lester C Tichy Architect 369 Lexington Ave NYC, NY) Pennsylvania RR North Philadelphia PA –counter screen, signage, ticket office (nitty-gritty mechanical/aesthetic details!) 1945

(Lester C Tichy Architect 369 Lexington Ave NYC, NY) Pennsylvania RR North Philadelphia PA –counter screen, signage, ticket office (nitty-gritty mechanical/aesthetic details!) 1945

(Lester C Tichy Architect 369 Lexington Ave NYC, NY) Pennsylvania RR North Philadelphia PA –counter screen, signage, ticket office (nitty-gritty mechanical/aesthetic details!) 1945

(Lester C Tichy Architect 369 Lexington Ave NYC, NY) Pennsylvania RR North Philadelphia PA –counter screen, signage, ticket office (nitty-gritty mechanical/aesthetic details!) 1945

This reminds me of a cover of Pencil Points from 1946

This reminds me of a cover of Pencil Points from 1946

In addition to the blueprints, he left these original hand sketches, sadly with no notes of the project locations. Perhaps they were just studies.

The last piece of this story is a drawing from Jack Colgan’s own office that he opened in Rockland County NY in the 1950s.

-David Calligeros

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