Surprisingly little is known of J. Franklin Stuckert, whose application for membership in the national organization of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1901 stated that he had begun practice in 1871. Stuckert appears in the Philadelphia city directories as an architect beginning in 1877, with an office at 524 Walnut Street, but he had already been noted in the Pupil Record Books of the Franklin Institute Drawing School as attending the first quarter of the 1869/70 session, thereby, apparently, gaining his training in architectural drawing. Stuckert was joined in 1895 by his son F. Russell Stuckert and the name of the firm revised to J. F. Stuckert & Son. When F. Russell Stuckert established his own independent practice in 1906, project references for J. Franklin Stuckert become increasingly scarce in the Philadelphia Real Estate and Records Builders Guide (PRERBG), perhaps indicating that he had gone into semi-retirement. Stuckert continues to be listed as an architect in the Philadelphia city directories through 1924, however.
Although Stuckert's origins remain hazy, it is apparent that by 1877 he was a well-respected member of the Philadelphia architectural community. Along with an elite group that included Samuel Sloan, the Wilson Bros., and Hutton & Ord, Stuckert was submitted an entry for the competition for the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane, receiving a prize of $500 for his participation. According to the Philadelphia correspondent to American Architect and Building News (17 November 1877), "On Wednesday the Committee held a meeting, after which they called in each of the five selected architects in turn for a half-hour's examination. Some of them have also been requested to modify their designs in some of the detail, and to procure additional bids." In the end Hutton & Ord carried off this commission, and Addison Hutton continued to work on the Hospital for a number of years. Stuckert, however, did not suffer for his loss. He designed a number of churches and synagogues in Philadelphia during these early years and won the lucrative contract to design several Horn & Hardart restaurants after he and his son joined forces.
Stuckert was a member of the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA as well as of the national organization.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- Franklin Institute Drawing School
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