Henry Charles Trost
1860 – 1933
Birthplace – Toledo, Ohio
Henry Charles Trost was the first-born son of German immigrants Ernst and Wilhelmina. The family settled in Toledo, Ohio. Ernst was a carpenter and Wilhelmina ran the family grocery store. Henry attended school and after graduation worked as an artist in Toledo.
In 1880, Henry left Toledo for Denver, Colorado. There he was employed as a draftsman for the firm of Nicholas & Canmen. He worked on the National Bank of Denver and Denver City Hall. The following year, Henry partner with architect Frank A. Weston and opened an office in the Baxter Building. The partnership received the commission for Colorado Springs City Hall. The building was erected in 1882-1883 and demolished in 1930. Weston and Trost also received a contract for the Central High School. Manning and Coon were listed as the architects. Weston and Trost were listed as supervisors. The Harper Weekly 1888 carried the first publication showing Trost’s work
During the 1880s, Henry retained his partnership with Weston but began to travel around Texas. One account has him leaving Colorado for Dallas and then moving to Fort Worth. Whether he actually designed anything in Fort Worth is unknown. In 1883 and 1884, Henry spent some time in Galveston, working for architect Nicholas J. Clayton. The World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition opened in New Orleans on December 17, 1884. Henry left Texas to help design and attend the expo. It is not possible to establish which of the exhibition buildings Trost worked on. In 1885, the firm of Haskell & Wood in Topeka Kansas employed Henry to work on the design of the Senate Chamber. While in Kansas, Henry continued his partnership with Weston. In December 1885, Weston and Trost drew up plans for a hotel in Dodge City for Mr. George B. Cox. The plans called for it to be erected on the site of the Dodge House stable. It is not known if the plans were carried out. Weston and Trost partnership ended by 1887.
In the years 1888-1896, Henry resided in Chicago. Henry became a member of the Chicago Sketch Club, later known as the Chicago Architectural Club. In November, 1888, Henry submitted a sketch for membership. The design “Wrot iron Gate” was awarded second prize. In 1889, Henry forms the American Art Metal Company with Emil Henry Seeman. (23 and 25 Indiana Chicago, Illonois) The business last for a year. Then from 1892 to 1896, Trost served as vice president of Chicago Ornamental Iron Company. The company is associated with the metal ornament that was on the front railings of the boxes, balconies and stairways for the Lafayette Square Opera House in Washington D.C. The company was located at 2611 S. Halsted street.
Henry returned to Colorado Springs during the years of 1896 to 1899. He continued his association with Weston, but nothing was ever found to be designed during this period. It was by the end of 1899, that Henry moved to Tucson, Arizona. Shortly after his arrival Henry received work from leading businessmen in Tucson. He received the commission to design the first Owls Club, a residence club for men. In Tucson,Henry formed a partnership with architect Robert Rust to build the Carnegie Public Library. Trost & Rust receive commission for several buildings in Tucson; Ronstadt building, Manning Residence, George Kitt Residence and University of Arizona South Hall. Henry’s sister Louise and nephew George joined him in Tucson.
In 1901, Henry takes his first trip to El Paso from Tucson. He arrived to submit plans for the Bailey hotel. He revisited the city twice in 1902 and finally settled in El Paso in 1903. Henry’s brother Gustavus was in El Paso already to supervise the building of Carnegie Library. The firm of Trost and Trost Architect is first listed in the City Directory in 1904. Adolphus who was Gustavus twin brother left Toledo to join the firm as the chief engineer in 1908. It is around this time that the firm begin the use of reinforced concrete in their buildings. ( Mills Building in El Paso) Over the next thirty years , the firm created some of most unique buildings in the southwest utilizing the landscape and the climate in all of their designs. Henry’s architectural styles ranges from prairie style (seen in the design of his home in El Paso), Mission Revival (featured in the First Owl Club in Tucson), Pueblo Revival (Franciscan Hotel in Albuquerque ), Bhutanese design ( University of Texas at El Paso) and the Chicago Art Deco ( Bassett Tower in El Paso).
Henry Trost died on September 19, 1933 and is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in El Paso, Texas.