Hugh Garden



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 1880’s 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 Sullivan’s 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 1950’s and died in 1961.