Biographies of Architects, Designers, and Builders

H. Rafael Lake (1894-1958)

H. Rafael Lake began his architectural education at the University of California, then transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he graduated in 1916. He apprenticed under Cass Gilbert and worked in New York for five years, except for military service during the First World War.

Hotel CalifornianIn May 1921 Lake visited Fresno, where his father was then involved in planning the Californian Hotel for Sun Maid Hotel Corporation. After practicing in San Francisco, he moved to Fresno in 1923 when he received the commission to design the hotel (on left). Lake joined the Trewhitt-Shields Company in late 1923 as staff architect. The firm reorganized as Shields, Fisher and Lake in 1924, then in 1925, reformed as Fisher, Lake and Traver. Fisher and Traver manned the firm's Los Angeles office and Lake its Fresno office. Among the firm's projects were the Stillwell Apartments in Long Beach, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and the Phoenix Westward Ho Hotel. In Fresno Lake designed the Wilson Theatre (1926), the L. C. Wesley Garage (1931, below), and the Blue Cross Veterinary Clinic (1936). Lake also designed several fine residences in Fresno, including a Sunnyside home for himself in 1925, the Ralph Merritt Home on Huntington Boulevard in 1926, the Arthur Bernhauer Home in Old Fig Garden in 1928, and the Harry W. Shields Home on Huntington Boulevard in 1936.Wesley Super Garage

During the Great Depression Lake became part of Allied Architects, and in the 1940s he joined William Hastrup in the firm of Lake and Hastrup. Their most visible project together was the new clubhouse for Sunnyside Country Club designed in 1948. In 1949 Lake formed a partnership with Elso Di Luck that lasted into the 1950s. H. Rafael Lake died in Fresno on August 9, 1958.

©1996 John Edward Powell. All rights reserved.