John T. Grisdale was born in Minneapolis, the son of Charles and Frances Ruth Orvis Grisdale. He graduated from Central High School there and entered the University of Minnesota where he may have completed a batchelors degree. At the University of Pennsylvania, Grisdale studied architecture for one semester; receiving a distinction in design. While he withdrew in May 1928 for an unknown reason he won the 1930 Pencil Points competition and also received an Honorable Mention in the competition sponsored by the Pan American Union for the Christopher Columbus Memorial Lighthouse. Grisdale worked for Mellor, Meigs & Howe and then Mellor & Meigs for ten years (1928-1938). In the early years of World War II he was in the office Paul Cret (1940-1943). At the conclusion of the war he and J. Roy Carroll formed a partnership, joined the following year by William L. Van Alen. Carroll, Grisdale & Van Alen was one of the most successful firms in the region from the 1950s through the 1970s.
Grisdale joined the national AIA in 1945 and was made a fellow in 1957. He also served as secretary for the Pennsylvania Society of Architects and in the 1960s as president of the Child Study Center, a commission of his firm.
Emily T. Cooperman, and
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Pennsylvania Society of Architects
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Minnesota
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