William Gladstone Merchant (1889-1962)


Merchant, William Gladstone

Personal Information

Birth/Death:    b. 1889 – d. 02/24/1962
Occupation:    American architect
Location (state):    CA

This record has not been verified for accuracy.

AIA Affiliation

Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1937-decease

Biographical Sources

American Architects Directories:
Address listed in 1956 American Architects Directory
Biographical information:
Contributed by the Environmental Design Archives, University of California, Berkeley:
William G. Merchant was a native of Healdsburg, California, but lived in San Francisco most of his life. In 1909, he graduated from Wilmerding School of Industrial Arts, San Francisco. He received his state certificate to practice architecture on July 6, 1920. His early training was in the offices of Bernard R. Maybeck and John Galen Howard. As Assistant Designer of the Palace of Fine Arts, he worked with Bernard Maybeck in building the Palace for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915. In 1960 he was called upon again to advise on the rehabilitation of the structure (some of his drawings were used during the building's rehabilitation). He also worked with Maybeck on a number of residences.
Under the name of W. G. Merchant and Associates, Merchant practiced from approximately 1946 until shortly before his death in 1962. He was a member of the Architectural Commission of Golden Gate International Exposition (1939) and architect for three structures at the Exposition: the Temple of the East, the Pacific Building and the Recreation Building.
Merchant's work included many projects for the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, including the Sub-station at 8th and Mission Street (1957) and the Morro-Bay Power Plant (1953). Some of his San Francisco projects included the San Francisco Medical Society building (1954) and Irving Memorial Blood Bank, San Francisco State College (1951), and the Sailors Union of the Pacific (1946). Also among his projects were the World Trade Center (1946–1957), which was incorporated into the Ferry Building by his firm, the Lick Wilmerding School (1955), and the Acme Brewery (1941–1945). In addition, as consultant for the Recreation and Parks Department he drew up plans for a variety of San Francisco recreational areas and centers, among them were the Chinese and Garfield Recreation centers, the development for the Camp Mather in the Sierras (1952), the masterplan for MacLaren Park (1959), and various swimming pools.
From 1949-1961 he served as Regent of the University of California. In addition, he was president of the Mechanics' Institute, and president of the Downtown Association. As a member of the Board of Governors of the San Francisco Opera Association he designed settings for the annual Opera ball, Fol-De-Rol.
Sources: "William G. Merchant Dies at 72," San Francisco Chronicle, February 27, 1962.
Biographical Record compiled by the American Institute of Architects, San Francisco, California.
Biographical Record compiled by the California Historical Society, San Francisco, California.

Related Records

Archival Holdings

The American Institute of Architects Archives
      Membership file may contain membership application, related correspondence. Contact the AIA Archives at archives@aia.org for further information.

Environmental Design Archives, University of California, Berkeley

Collection Number: 1962-2. Extent: 1 box, 7 oversize folders, 6 tubes. The William G. Merchant papers span the years 1934-1941 and are arranged into four series: Personal Papers, Golden Gate International Exposition, Project Records, and Additional Donations. The collection contains correspondence, reports, drawings, financial records, articles, blueprints and meeting minutes. The papers primarily relate to the Golden Gate International Exposition (GGIE) held in 1939 in San Francisco, California. The drawings are primarily from the GGIE, however there are a few of private residences (one in Sonoma), a mausoleum in San Mateo County, and a drawing of St. Mary's Square in San Francisco. Link to online finding aid: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf4d5nb0vk