Biographies of Architects, Designers, and Builders

Allen C. Collins (1888-1950)

Allen C. Collins was born in San Jose, California, on June 1, 1888, and graduated from San Jose High School in 1908. Little is known about his academic training after high school, but in 1910 he was listed as a draftsman in San Jose. He formed a short-lived partnership in 1911-1912 with Delbert H. Main as Collins and Main, Architectural Designers, after which he worked alone until 1915. That year he joined the office of San Jose architect Warren Skillings.

After serving in World War I, Collins again associated with Skillings in San Jose. Their design for a home for Dr. Lincoln Cothran of San Jose was published in Architect & Engineer in 1919. Upon passing his state architectural examinations in 1921, Collins formed a partnership in Santa Cruz with Walter Graves Byrne, a Berkeley graduate, who had begun his career working for Julia Morgan and John Galen Howard. From 1921 to 1923 Collins & Byrne maintained offices in the Santa Cruz Theater Building. When Byrne moved to Los Angeles in 1923, Collins continued working in Santa Cruz. In 1928 he moved to Watsonville to form a partnership with J. H. De Lange. It ended when De Lange relocated to Aptos that same year.

In 1936 Collins accepted a position with Fresno builders Taylor and Wheeler as a "captive architect," designing custom homes throughout the Central San Joaquin Valley.

Collins moved to Oakland in 1940. His return to the Bay Area appears to have been prompted by the major recognition he received for his case study house design for the Homes and Gardens Section of the 1939-1940 Golden Gate International Exposition. The home, "Felton Gables," was built in Menlo Park and was published in Pencil Points, Architectural Forum and American Home. In the mid-1940s Collins returned to Watsonville, where he maintained an office until his death on July 27, 1950.

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