Wesley Lesher Blithe was born in Philadelphia, the son of Henry and Emma (Lesher) Blithe. After attending the Rugby Academy in Philadelphia, he began his study of architecture at the Franklin Institute, where he received an honorable mention in the architectural class and his degree in 1891 following four terms of study. He received a Certificate of Proficiency in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1895, then supplemented this study with classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1898/99.
Blithe began his apprenticeship with George T. Pearson, but also worked with Edgar V. Seeler from 1894 until he left for Europe in 1900. When he returned to Philadelphia in 1901, he set up his own office, and the 1901/02 Catalogue of the Architectural Exhibition for the T-Square Club notes (but does not illustrate) his entry of drawings for a Carnegie Library elevation and plan. His office specialty was Methodist church architecture, an area which was enhanced by his European study. Chief among the churches credited to Blithe are the Fletcher Methodist Church at 54th and Master streets, the Wharton Street Methodist Church at 54th and Catherine streets, and the Oak Lane Methodist Church, at 12th Street and City Line Avenue.
Blithe was a member of the AIA, the T-Square Club, the Merion Cricket Club, Cadmus Club, the Engineers Club and Alpha Epsilon. He also served as Director of the Children's Country Week Association, an organization which his wife chaired for a number of years.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Engineers Club
- Merion Cricket Club
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- T-Square Club
- Alpha Epsilon
- Cadmus Club
- University of Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
- Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art
- Franklin Institute Drawing School
- Rugby Academy
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