Malcomson and Higginbotham

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Malcomson and Higginbotham was an architectural firm started in the nineteenth century and based in Detroit, Michigan. A successor firm, Malcomson-Greimel and Associates, still exists in Rochester, Michigan as of 2010.


Architects William G. Malcomson and William E. Higginbotham formed a partnership in 1890.[1]

The firm was retained by the Detroit Board of Education in 1895,[1] and between 1895 and 1923 had designed over 75% of the school buildings in Detroit.[2] The firm remained in business under various names until the present.

William G. Malcomson (left) and William E. Higginbotham

William G. Malcomson

William George Malcomson was born in 1856 in Hamilton, Ontario.[3] He began his architectural career early, and in 1875 supervised the construction of the Henry Langley-designed Erie Street United Church in Ridgetown, Ontario.[4] In 1882, Malcomson married Jessie E. McKinlay; the couple had five children. William G. Malcomson died in 1937.[5]

William E. Higginbotham

William E. Higginbotham was born in 1858 in Detroit.[3] He was educated in the Detroit public schools, and at the age of 19 joined the architectural form of J. V. Smith.[1] He married Nettie M. Morphy in 1892; the couple had two children:[3] a daughter, Doris Higginbotham (born 26 February 1893, Detroit; died 3 July 1983, Lafayette, LA) and a son, Bruce Field Higginbotham (born 1895, Detroit; died 1939, Atlanta, GA). William E. Higginbotham died in 1922.[1]

Other principals and architects

  • Malcomson and Higginbotham began as a partnership between William G. Malcomson and William E. Higginbotham.
  • Around 1907, the firm changed its name to "Malcomson, Higginbotham and Clement" with the addition of Hugh B. Clement as a partner. Clement soon left, and the name reverted to "Malcomson and Higginbotam".
  • Wirt C. Rowland joined the firm, though not as a partner, in 1912 and stayed until 1915 when he rejoined Albert Kahn.[6]
  • C. William Palmer became a partner in 1920 and the firm became known as "Malcomson, Higginbotham and Palmer",[7] reverting again to "Malcomson and Higginbotham" upon Palmer's departure in 1924, despite Higginbotham's death in 1922.
  • In 1925, Alexander L. Trout became a partner,[8] and the firm once more changed its name to "Malcomson and Higginbotham and Trout" until 1935, when Trout left.[9]
  • The firm finally dropped Higginbotham's name after Malcomson's death in 1937 with the addition of Ralph R. Calder,[9] and Maurice E. Hammond, becoming "Malcomson, Calder, and Hammond"; they remained under that name until 1945,[9] when Ralph R. Calder resigned to establish his eponymous firm, which remains in business.
  • In 1945, Homer A. Fowler became a partner, and the firm name was changed to "Malcomson, Fowler, and Hammond".[10] until 1958 at least.
  • In the 1960s, the firm merged with that of Karl H. Greimel to become "Greimel, Malcomson and Hammond". Karl Greimel was the dean of Lawrence Technological University's School of Architecture from 1974 - 1991.[11]
  • The firm was later known as "Greimel, Malcomson, and James".
  • Finally, the firm was called, "Malcomson-Greimel and Associates" the form which exists as of 2010.

List of structures designed by Malcomson and Higginbotham

All buildings are located in Detroit, unless otherwise indicated.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Detroit Board of Education (1922). The Detroit educational bulletin, Volume 18, Issues 1-2. p. 23. 
  2. "An Honor and an Ornament: Public School Buildings in Michigan" (PDF). Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries. September 2003. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Mannausa & Weber (1907). The government of the city of Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan: 1701 to 1907, historical and biographical, illustrated. pp. 174–177. 
  4. "Chatham-Kent". Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  5. Detroit engineer, 2–3, Engineering Society of Detroit, 1937 
  6. James W. Tottis (2008), The Guardian Building: cathedral of finance, Wayne State University Press, p. 14, ISBN 0-8143-3385-0 
  7. "American Architect's Directory, 1956" (PDF). p. 416. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  8. "Mosher-Jordan Halls". Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "American Architect's Directory, 1956" (PDF). p. 2. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  10. Michigan Society of Architects (1953), Bulletin of the Michigan Society of Architects, 27, The Society 
  11. "Karl Greimel, noted dean of architecture". Detroit News. April 26, 2000. 
  12. Hill, Eric J. and John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3120-3.  P. 128.
  13. Hill and Gallagher, 2002, p. 142.
  14. Hill and Gallagher, 2002, p. 132.
  15. Federal Writers' Project (1949), Michigan. A guide to the Wolverine state, US History Publishers, pp. 340–341, ISBN 1-60354-021-0 

Further reading

  • Hill, Eric J. and John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3120-3.