Caricature of William Hewitt
(Charles Bell, c. 1906)
Philadelphia In Cartoons, as Seen by Philadelphia Newspaper Cartoonists (s.l.: s.n., 1906),
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Established in 1878, this firm represented the talents of two brothers, George W. Hewitt and William D. Hewitt. Relying chiefly on church and residential design, the brothers operated a flourishing office which only ceased when George W. Hewitt retired in 1907. Young brotherer William D. Hewitt then proceeded through several new firms that endured well into the twentieth century. The Hewitts also provided a training ground for a number of young architects whose fortunes would be made in residential architecture, including Horace Trumbauer, who would build upon his grounding in the palatial country house to become one of the most prominent Philadelphia architects of his time.
Notable among the projects completed by the Hewitts were those for H. H. Houston in Chestnut Hill (the Houston residence "Drum Moir," the Wissahickon Inn, and St. Martin-in-the-Fields), all of which demonstrate a knowledge in English and Scottish forms and styles. Successful in both ecclesiastic and residential design, the George W. Hewitt could cite some 24 church buildings in his unsuccessful letter of 1898, in which he sought the commission for the First Baptist Church on South 17th Street in Philadelphia. Aside from the many churches and private homes designed, the brothers also constructed several commercial and hospital buildings, among which were the Philadelphia Bourse, Hahneman Medical College Hospital and Dispensary, and the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel.
Often overshadowed by the more flamboyant Frank Furness, George W. Hewitt's former partner, G. W. & W. D. Hewitt nonetheless had a clientele of Philadelphia financeers, bringing to their offices projects in Philadelphia and abroad. They rarely indulged in the eccentricities of design associated with Furness but instead relied upon a more traditional, British-influenced approach to style.
Sandra L. Tatman.
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