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Gustavus Trost

Gustavus TrostGustavus Trost

1876 – 1950

Birthplace – Toledo, Ohio

Hello my name is Gustavus Adolphus Trost. I’m the twin brother of  Adolphus Gustavus Trost. People usually called me “Gus”

My parent emigrated from Germany in 1850 and settled in Toledo, Ohio. They had eight children with the last two being a set of identical twins. My parents name my brother and me after the Sweden greatest king, which is ironic since my family is of German descent. I attended Toledo Public School and graduated from high school in 1894, three years after the passing of my mother. My first job in an architectural firm was in 1895 as a draftsman for the firm Bacon & Huber. This firm is credited for building the Pythian Castle (1890) and the Spitzer building (1896) in Toledo. I worked there until 1900, and then I left to work at the firm of Mauran, Russell and Crowell in St Louis.

In 1902, the Carnegie Foundation provided a grant totaling $37,500 to erect a new library in El Paso. The public library was to be built on an old cemetery site, Buckler Square. The St Louis architectural firm I was working for at time received the commission and I was asked to travel to El Paso as a representative to look over the site and plans. I had never been out west and was looking forward to the trip. In addition my brother Henry; sister Louise and nephew George were currently living in Tucson, only a day’s train trip from El Paso. So in March of 1902, I board the train for El Paso. Once I arrived in El Paso, I went over the plans, confirmed the site and over saw the beginning of the construction of the library. The building was completed two years later.

El Paso in 1903 was slowly changing from a western town to city of the west. The Central Hotel, Angelus Hotel, and Hotel Orndoff were just some of the buildings that lining the city’s skyline. I decided to stay in El Paso and open an office in the Coles Block. I wrote to my brother Henry a well-established architect in Tucson at the time, about opening up an architectural firm in El Paso. He agreed that El Paso would be the perfect location to build and by the end of the year Henry, my sister Louise and my nephew George all moved to El Paso.

Henry and I opened an office in the Guaranty Trust Building. We soon began to receive commissions to build residential homes, medical buildings, and commercial buildings. One of our first commission was from David Baldwin was for the Baldwin sanatorium on Grandview at a cost $150,000. It was completed in 1906 and demolished in 1972.

We decided to expand the business and place ads in some of the local newspapers in Arizona and New Mexico. In 1909, of my brother Adolphus moved here from Toledo and joined the firm as the structural engineer. The following year we received one of our biggest commissions the Anson Mills building. A twelve story reinforced concrete building. When the building was completed in 1912, we relocated our offices to the 8th floor. The next several years the firm expanded it practice into West Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. We opened local offices in Phoenix, Bisbee and Tucson.

In 1923, I met Margaret Byrne secretary to Mr. Schwartz at the Popular Dry Good Store. We were later married and moved into a home on Baltimore Street. We had two children. I spent my leisure time playing golf and vacationing with my family. While driving to our destination, we would often take a side trip and stop to look at buildings within the city. I was a Master Mason in good standing within Lodge 130 and rose to 32 degree. In 1921, I was accepted into the American Institute of Architects.

I passed away on August 25, 1950 and was buried at Evergreen Alameda Cemetery in El Paso  with the rest of the family. Here are just some of the buildings I worked on directly; the La Tuna Federal Prison in Anthony, Texas, La Cruces Country Clubhouse in Las Cruces, New Mexico and the McKinley County Courthouse in Gallup, New Mexico and my family home on Baltimore Street.