Anton Johnson (1883-1971)
Anton Johnson was born in Dassel, Minnesota, on April 27, 1883. He supported himself as a carpenter's helper while studying at Southern Minnesota Normal College. After graduation in 1907, he settled in Kingsburg, California. In July of that year he submitted a proposal to design the Scandinavian Colony School in rural Fresno. Unsuccessful in securing that commission, he resumed working in the building trades and advertised in 1910, with his brother Oliver, as Johnson Brothers, Builders and Designers.
Of Swedish descent, Johnson captured his first major commissions in the Swedish community of Kingsburg, notably the Swedish Mission Church in 1918 and the First Baptist Church in 1919.
Studying by correspondence course, Johnson prepared to take his professional exams and was granted his license to practice architecture in California in 1921. That year he designed the Kingsburg Savings Bank. In 1922 he was commissioned to design the Sanger Methodist Church and Kerman High School and to prepare sketches for a new Kingsburg Methodist Church. In 1923 he designed the Kingsburg American Legion Building but shortly thereafter returned to contracting, opening an office in Los Angeles. Johnson quickly gained a reputation as a "go-getter," securing building contracts for schools in Pasadena, Santa Paula and Taft. He also built churches and commercial properties in Southern California and completed a large contract for the American Canal in the Imperial Valley.
Anton Johnson lived his last years in La Cañada, California. He died on May 10, 1971.
© 2001 John Edward Powell. All rights reserved.