Based in Newark, NJ, William Halsey Wood nonetheless designed several important buildings in Pennsylvania. He distinguished himself in the design of two types of buildings: libraries and churches. Although his early designs exhibit considerable influence from H. H. Richardson (see his Carnegie Free Library, Braddock, PA, 1888-89, 1893), later ecclesiastical work was notable for its English Gothic precedents (see Episcopal church of the Ascension, Pittsburgh, 1896-98). He was a finalist in the competition for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York.
Wood merited an obituary in the American Architect and Building News (20 March 1897); however, the writer voiced considerable reservation about his work: " . . . had his early training been secured under conditions that would have had a chastening effect on his ambition, he might have attained a high place in the ranks of the profession. Unfortunately, success in securing commissions came to him early in life and he yielded too much to the then current desire to create an 'American style,' and carried out much of his work in a spirit of fantastic exuberance which resulted in buildings that hardly do justice to his real powers."
In addition to his Newark, NJ, office, Wood maintained an office in New York from 1882 to 1890.
Sandra L. Tatman.
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