Hugh Mackie Gordon Garden was born in Toronto, Ontario
in 1873. He moved with his family to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1887 and after the untimely
death of his father he sought work as a draftsman to help support the family. In the late
1880s Garden and his family moved to Chicago with the hope of obtaining better
opportunities in the field of architecture. He gained his experience by working for
Sheply, Rutan and Coolidge, Howard Van Doren Shaw, Henry Ives Cobb and Frank Lloyd Wright.
In 1892 he joined the Chicago Architectural Club where he associated with the architects
that worked at Steinway Hall and who made up the Prairie School of Architecture.
In 1895 he was invited to go into partnership with
Richard Schmidt as the chief designer. The firm of Schmidt and Garden produced primarily
commercial buildings and public park buildings and had planned over 300 hospitals. The
largest of their designs was the prairie-influenced original building of Michael Reese
Hospital in Chicago. Garden possessed a delicate sense of proportion and followed the
philosophies of Louis Sullivans simplification of the basic form.
In 1906 Schmidt and Garden added a third partner, Edgar
Martin. This partnership lasted for almost 20 years with some of their more well-known
commissions in Chicago being the Montgomery Ward warehouse building on the Chicago River
at Chicago Avenue and also the Ambassador Hotel on State Street. By 1925 Martin had left
the firm and was replaced with longtime employee Carl A. Erickson and the firm was renamed
Schmidt, Garden and Erickson.
One of the projects that Garden also worked on was the
design of the Julia C. Lathrop Homes, a public housing project in Chicago at Diversey and
Damen Avenues. It was a mix of two and three story apartments and row houses designed in
collaboration with Thomas Tallmadge, Vernon Watson, and others in 1936. Garden continued
his career into the 1950s and died in 1961.