Watson K. Phillips was born in New Hope, PA, the son of Edward W. and Ellen R. Kenderdine Phillips. After attending public schools in Bristol and Ambler, PA, he began studies at both the Spring Garden Institute and Drexel Institute, where he obtained two certificates, the first in Pen and Ink Rendering in 1901 and the second in Building Construction in 1903. By 1900 he was already chief draftsman for Schermerhorn & Reinhold; and when Henry L. Reinhold, Jr. withdrew from the office in 1901, Phillips was promoted to associate. By 1906 the firm is formally titled Schermerhorn & Phillips in the Philadelphia Real Estate Record and Builders Guide although this designation does not appear in Philadelphia city directories. After Schermerhorn's death in 1925, Phillips continued in independent practice at least until 1935/36, building on Schermerhorn's affinity for school design as well as the usual residential and church commissions which the partners had executed in the past. Not surprisingly, since Phillips maintained his residence in Ambler, PA, many of the projects were in the environs of Ambler.
Phillips had a distinguished service record during World War I, serving at the front in Italy and receiving the bronze Italian War Cross.
Sandra L. Tatman.
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- Drexel Institute
- Spring Garden Institute
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