David S. Gendell was born in Philadelphia, the son of John A. Gendell, a carpenter/builder, foundryman and owner of the Architectural Iron Works located in West Philadelphia. Gendell attended the Philadelphia public schools, first at the elementary school located at Zane Street above 7th and then a partial course at Central High School, where he was in attendance from February, 1853, until February, 1855. He served an apprenticeship with Thomas Ustick Walter, and then launched an office with his father on the northeast corner of 5th & Chestnut streets, for the first time listing himself as an architect. This association with his father continued until J. A. Gendell's retirement in 1886, and it appears to have been a lucrative combination of talents which resulted in the cast iron spire of the Berean Baptist Church at 40th and Chestnut Streets, as well as a number of other commissions in the vicinity of the family ironworks and home in West Philadelphia.
David S. Gendell retired in 1900 but maintained his listing as an architect until 1923, apparently without an office independent of his home at 834 North 63rd Street. He had been a devout Baptist, and this is reflected in the several projects which he designed for Baptist affiliated congregations. He exhibited his work at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts annual exhibitions for 1869, 1879, and 1880, choosing for these examples of his more important commercial and ecclesiastical designs.
Sandra L. Tatman.
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- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
- Oriental Lodge of Masons
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