John Ord was born on 4 May 1850 in Fife, Scotland, the son of William Ord and Ann Davison, both born in England. He apprenticed in the firm of Peddie & Kinnear there before coming to Philadelphia. (In the Peddie & Kinnear office at the time was also Robert G. Kennedy, who also became a well-known Philadelphia architect.) Ord's first listing in the Philadelphia city directories occurs in 1873, when he is listed as a draftsman with no office address noted. By 1877 it is noted that he is operating from an office at 215 South 5th Street, an office shared by Addison Hutton, with whom Ord soon formed a partnership under the name of Hutton & Ord.
Ord married Jessie Laird of Edinburgh, Scotland on 4 July 1878 in Edinburgh. He went back to Scotland for the wedding. His wife immigrated in 1878 right after her marriage to him. Their first child was born in Pennsylvania, probably Philadelphia.
By 1880, Ord was assisting another Scots architect, John McArthur, Jr. on the design and construction of the Philadelphia City Hall and, on the senior architect's death in 1890, succeeded him on this project. In 1893 Ord retired from this position and was succeeded by W. Bleddyn Powell.
His death certificate stated his occupation was architect (retired 20 years) which would put his professional career at an end about 1903. The 1910 census states that his occupation is "own income." He resided with his daughter, Janet Wilson Ord, and son-in-law, Leander Chapin Clafin) at 3202 Arch Street at this time. He is buried in the Woodlands Cemetery
Ord was an active member of the St. Andrews Society in Philadelphia, to which he had been elected in 1873.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- St. Andrews Society
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