Biographies of Architects, Designers, and Builders

Richard F. Felchlin (1888-1960)

Richard Ferdinand Felchlin was born in Stockton, California, on October 9, 1888. He studied civil engineering at the University of California, where he was a member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering fraternity. In 1911, while still a student and employed part-time by Dyer Brothers of San Francisco, Felchlin came to Fresno regarding the construction of the old Civic Auditorium. He impressed Dr. Chester Rowell with his cost-saving ideas, and Rowell encouraged him to move to Fresno.

Felchlin formed R. F. Felchlin Company in Fresno in 1912, with Charles Franklin (1891-1956) as engineer. In 1917 architect Raymond Shaw (1890-1967) joined the firm. Shaw, who had studied at Stanford University and worked in George Kelham's San Francisco Architectural Club atelier, became Felchlin's chief designer.

For the next decade Felchlin's firm designed or built many of Fresno's largest buildings, creating the high-rise Beaux-Arts skyline that characterizes the city today. Among the firm's major projects were the Bank of Italy Building (1918), the Patterson Building (1922), the San Joaquin Light & Power Building (1923), the Pacific Southwest Building (1923), and the Radin & Kamp Building (1925). The firm also built the Californian Hotel (1922), designed by H. Rafael Lake for Sun Maid Hotel Corporation.

In 1925 the firm became Felchlin, Shaw & Franklin, and Shaw moved to Los Angeles to run the firm's branch office there. The firm designed several fine Fresno residences during this period, including homes for D. L. Trowbridge (1926) and Paul Kindler (1928). Felchlin, Shaw & Franklin dissolved their partnership in 1930.

During the 1930s Felchlin pursued a second career as president of Grant Pacific Rock Company, which was later sold to Pacific Coast Aggregate. He died in Fresno on January 6, 1960.

©1996 John Edward Powell. All rights reserved.